In general, I like films with a good story. If there is a lot of action in it as well, I am a happy camper. That said, I don’t often watch films that are only centered around action. Liam Neeson is an actor I only know from these action films, especially Taken. Still I was curious about his new film, The Commuter. Is it any good or yet another action flick like so many others?
The story is about Michael MacCauley, an old police officer who now sells insurances for a living. He goes through his daily routine prior to his commute to work. While Michael and his wife Karen are already struggling to make ends meet, Michael is told he is let go after ten years of service.
Michael meets his friend, detective Alex Murphy. They have a drink together and Murphy ensures Michael he will help him wherever he can. He then tells Michael not to miss his train.
When Michael is on the train, one of the other regular commuters tells him a woman is observing him. As Michael settles down, the woman approaches him. She introduces herself as Joanne. After a chat, Joanne says she wants to test him. She says there is $25k hidden on the train and there is $75k in cash for him if he manages to identify a person who does not belong on the train. She departs and Michael, not truly believing the money is on the train, searches for it and finds it. By accepting this money, he catalyses a series of events which endangers his family but also the other passengers on the train.
Great Action, confusing story
I had a lot of questions leaving the cinema. Basically, there is no reason why Michael was chosen for this job other than a series of random circumstances. The story tries to make it come off as if it all has a reason, but it doesn’t. So if you want to see the film because of its story, don’t bother. The surprises are very predictable. You can see the plottwist coming from miles away. The film would have been so much better had they made the clues more challenging, something Murder On The Orient Express did so much better.
That said, the action is actually really great. I found myself on the edge of my seat for a large part of the film. Despite the fact that the majority of the film takes place on the train, it still manages to be entertaining and thrilling. While some scenes are very exaggerated, a younger man would have issues with what Neeson has to deal with. Regardless, the second half of the film is entertaining enough, while it does not really derail and become completely unconvincing until the very end.
If you just accept that this film is nothing but mindless entertainment, the 1,5 hours will fly be and be quite entertaining as well. If you are trying to find a deeper meaning in this film, you will be disappointed. Don’t think too much, just enjoy the ride as much as you can.