Liam Neeson must have one hell of a nutritionalist as the 65 year old is still at it as he goes on another rip-roaring affair as a regular commuter on a train that rides to New York. Re-united with director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Run All Night). Neeson plays Michael MacCauley, a devoted father and husband who rides from the suburbs of New York to the city every working day for ten years to his office job as an insurance salesman. Over the ten year course, MacCauley is part of a community of small talkers who share his commute. When MacCauley is fired from his job, only a few years from retirement, he thinks he’s having the day from hell. A few drinks with his ex-police partner before he gets the train is further compounded when his phone is pick pocketed prior boarding the train. When a beautiful stranger (Vera Farmiga) strikes up a conversation with him, she offers him the chance to earn some much needed cash, by finding a commuter on the train that wouldn’t normally be on it. Initially thinking she is bluffing, when he finds the first instalment, the real nightmare has just begun, as the game makers exemplify deadly consequences if he does not find the target. MacCauley must reprise his detective skills along with his knowledge of the commuters to find the target before everyone dies.
Least to say, The Commuter is as intelligent as Liam Neeson’s viewpoints on sexual harassment, yet if you go along with it, it’s quite a lot of fun. Not overly dissimilar a plot line to the likes of Non-Stop, or many of his previous recent intense action thrillers, it’s fairly well written for its genre. Editing is slick and all the supporting cast are on fine hokey form, particularly Andy Nyman whose voice often projects more than his frame. There’s plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep you on board, even though the scenarios are near preposterous, just when it doesn’t seem ridiculous enough, it finds another layer even McDonald’s would baulk at. If anything does slightly ruin it it’s substituting traditional stunts and explosions with CGI, which probably shaved a good few million from the budget. If The Commuter was filmed in the nineties, it would probably be a bit of a cult hit these days. It may feel like a dated concept, but its some good old fashioned nonsense that’s a welcome alternative to most other titles vying for an Oscar.