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The Commuter [2018]

A businessman on his daily commute home gets unwittingly caught up in a criminal conspiracy that threatens not only his life but the lives of those around him.

The Commuter, 2018.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.

Starring Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill, and Jonathan Banks.


A man gets caught in a criminal conspiracy on his usual commuter route home.

I’m going to assume that everyone opening this review is asking the same question. Is this just Taken on a train? A fair question given the way this film has been marketed as looking similar to Unknown, The Grey and Non-Stop which have all had this accusation levelled at them. Personally I am all for Liam Neeson to dot the next 10 years of his career with these kinds of films as he has done the last 10. I can’t wait for 10 years from now when he’s smashing random henchman round the head with his walking stick, which is also his deadliest weapon.

There has, thus far, been a pleasing interchangeability to the titles in the banging, clattering action oeuvre cultivated by Liam Neeson and Spanish genre maestro Jaume Collet-Serra. “Unknown,” “Non-Stop” and “Run All Night” sound so tersely generic as to be slyly ironic, and that hint of playing-dumb humor extends to their gleefully absurd thriller mechanics: All three put rather a lot of crafty thought into their empty-headed pleasures. “The Commuter” sounds more tastefully sedate by comparison, but don’t be fooled. Neeson and Collet-Serra’s whooshing, whiplash-inducing fourth collaboration could as easily be titled “Run Non-Stop Into the Unknown” — a moving-train whodunit that makes Kenneth Branagh’s jacked-up “Murder on the Orient Express” remake look like “Jeanne Dielman” by comparison, it’s so concerned with its own sheer speed that any semblance of storytelling logic is left waving from the platform.

The silliest of the low-rent, high-impact thrillers that Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson have made together (“Unknown,” “Non-Stop,” and “Run All Night” being the previous three), “The Commuter” may not match the potent charge of their earlier collaborations, but this amusingly ridiculous ride is still a few cuts above the kind of swill you’d expect to arrive in theaters on the second weekend of January.

This may be a forgettable movie about the forgotten man — a blue-collar morality play disguised as a very contrived hostage crisis — but at least it’s shlock with something on its mind. It’s the kind of action vehicle that Barton Fink might have written if he arrived in Hollywood during the mid-’90s.

Neeson plays Michael McCauley, an ex-cop (what else?) who’s settled into his second act as the model suburbanite.

Throughout his late renaissance as an action hero, Liam Neeson has battled wolves (The Grey), evil Albanians (Taken), evil Turks (Taken 2), flight turbulence (Non-Stop), an unwanted TV show adaptation (The A-Team), an unwanted board game adaptation (Battleship), more evil Albanians (Run All Night), evil Germans (Unknown) and even evil Nazis if you want to go all the way back to Schindler’s List.

But in The Commuter, which marks the 65-year-old star’s fourth collaboration with Spanish director and Hitchcock enthusiast Jaume Collet-Serra, he may be facing his greatest challenge yet: trying to take the Metro-North Railroad home from New York.

Enter here for your chance to win a pair of passes to an advance screening of the new film, The Commuter, starring Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, and Sam Neill.

For your chance to receive a pair of complimentary passes to see the new film The Commuter at the Mjr Troy Grand Cinema in Troy, Michigan on Tuesday, January 9th at 7:00Pm, just look for the “Enter the Contest” box further down on this page. But hurry because there are a limited number of passes available and when they’re gone, they’re gone!

About The Film

The Commuter: In this action-packed thriller, Liam Neeson is Michael, an insurance salesman, whose daily commute home quickly becomes anything but routine. After being confronted by a mysterious stranger (Vera Farmiga), Michael is blackmailed into finding the identity of a passenger on his train before the last stop.