Everyday most of us leave our dwellings and head to our job of choice. Along the way we must navigate the many roads and herds of people also heading to their jobs all to the tune of the same beat. Our daily commutes tend to play out like the movie Groundhog Day except in our world most of the time we do drive angry. What if though something made that beat skip and presented you with and option that really wasn’t an option at all? That is what happens to one commuter, but unlucky for the people who choose him, this commuter is Liam Neeson.
Ok, it’s not really Liam, this commuter is named Michael MacCauley and he is played by Liam Neeson. MacCauley takes the same train every day for ten years, but today is different. You see he has just lost his job as an insurance salesman, so things are not looking up for this unemployed sixty-year old. MacCauley didn’t always sell insurance though, before that he was a member of the New York Police Department. The ride home looked like a normal day but then a mysterious woman named Joanna (Vera Farmiga) offers Michael one hundred thousand dollars to find someone who doesn’t belong on his train ride home. Once he finds this person he is to place a tracking device on them and just walk away. Of course, things are not that simple, if Michael does not do what he is asked his family could be killed, which leaves him very little choice. He has only so many stops before he must complete his task and make the right decision before it’s too late.
Liam Neeson as an action hero has had a pretty good run. While he has used his particular set of skills to defeat all kinds of evil and this time he gets to use them on his commute home. Neeson who has said he is hanging up his action cleats, because who wants to see a sixty-five-year-old trying to be a hero. “The Commuter” is not your typical all brawn action and this story has some thought to it. Writers Bryon Willinger, Philip de Blasi, and Ryan Engle devise a Murder on the Orient Express meets Die Hard kind of story that turns out to be pretty cool. The movie unfortunately never manages to reach its true potential, but it doesn’t fall off a cliff neither. Sure, it’s predictable at times, but it also keeps you guessing which keeps it more fun than most January releases.
Director Jaume Collet-Serra and cinematographer Paul Carmeron keep “The Commuter” looking good and even add some crafty shots to keep things interesting. Neeson though keeps it all together as an “older” guy who looks the part, but father time is has caught up with him. This is popcorn cinema done very well and if this is Neeson’s last rodeo as an action star he went out on a pretty good note. Not everyone like’s their everyday commute, so why not take a different one for a few hours and let someone else do the driving for you.