At 65 years old, Liam Neeson recently announced that his action hero days are over. If so, he brought them to an entertaining but preposterous end with The Commuter.
Neeson’s 2014 film Non-Stop was like if someone mated Die Hard with an episode of Murder, She Wrote. The Commuter, directed by Non-Stop’s Jaume Collet Serra, is reminiscent of that film. There is a mystery component, as Neeson is conscripted by a sinister woman (Vera Farmiga) to identify a train passenger who “doesn’t belong.” Neeson’s character is an ex-cop who rides the commuter train every day for work, so he puts his skills to the test as Farmiga tells him his family will be killed if he doesn’t comply. So, he’s left to save himself, his family, and the anonymous train passenger.
There are moments here that are ridiculous even by the standards of Liam Neeson action movies. An early death is worthy of an eye roll. But Neeson brings his usual gravitas to the lead role and keeps the film as grounded as it can be. Serra proved in Non-Stop and 2016’s The Shallows that he is a skilled pulp director and he keeps things moving at a brisk clip. The Commuter has a reasonable sense of humor and a couple of creative fight scenes.
The Commuter may be a bit too silly to give it a full-fledged thumbs up, but if you like Neeson’s earlier action efforts, you’ll probably like this one, too.