Today: April 19, 2024

The Commuter

That The Commuter stars Liam Neeson and is mostly set on a train you would be forgiven for assuming this is an action cousin to Jason Statham franchise The Transporter, albeit at a more ‘wrong leaves on the track’ kind of pace. But alas don’t expect to see The Stath and Neeson going toe-to-toe in the action stakes anytime soon.

Instead The Commuter sees Neeson aspiring to move away from his OAP action man status by playing an… Insurance Salesman!? That particular character trait is soon cast aside when you discover he’s an ex-cop. An ex-cop insurance salesman who is having a very bad day. Having been fired he then encounters a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) on his train home who offers him a hundred grand if he locates a person on the train and identifies them to her colleagues.

Commuter director Jaume Collet-Serra and Neeson obviously like working together as this is the fourth time they’ve teamed up. And The Commuter very much fits into their remit of high-concept ‘what if’ akin to Unknown or Non-Stop. It’s a concept as imagined by a thirteen year-old Alfred Hitchcock.

So the film manages to somehow be about six films rolled into one. It starts as Strangers On A Train, morphs into Murder On The Orient Express, kicks its way into Under Siege 2, accelerates into Speed and then ends up being a train based version of The Negotiator. If reading all that made you breathless the film doesn’t quite achieve the same.

But it is mindless fun. Watching Neeson do his gravel growl down mobile phones has become his trademark move. Watching his ‘I’m too old for this sh*t’ action man is strangely satisfying. The mystery is a complete red herring. We never really find out what the big conspiracy is and you don’t really care.

All the while Collet-Serra treats the train as his own CGI infused playground. Swooping through carriages, swirling around clattering wheels and tossing poor old Neeson around like a rag-doll. The film would have benefitted from more plotting and less action but that’s not really what a film like this is aiming for.

Despite its pedestrian title The Commuter rattles along at a fair pace, keeps you just about interested but refuses to try anything new. A by the numbers action thriller with a central performance that makes you feel like you’re watching your dad carry the load.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

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