There's a pronounced economic undercurrent to The Commuter that's sometimes played for obvious gallows humour and other times as a poignant reflection of the film's protagonist.
"The Commuter" is kind of like an order of cheap takeout tacos. Neeson's action film credits are reliably unreliable, alternating between utter wastes of time and enjoyably macho fantasies, but he's developed a groove with Jaume Collet-Serra ever since 2011's Unknown. Nothing lets the air out of a crowded theater like a self-serious potboiler, much less a self-serious potboiler needlessly wound into knots.
It leaves Grand Central Terminal, but makes several underground subway stops that the real-life commute line doesn't make. While on the ride home on the commuter train, he is approached by a unusual woman who proposes a hypothetical: if he could track down one person on the train who doesn't seem to belong and identify them with a Global Positioning System tracking device, would he do so with the promise of a $100,000 reward, regardless of the unknown consequences to the identified party?
On his way home to break the news to his wife, Karen (Elizabeth McGovern), Michael is approached by a mysterious woman named Joanna (Vera Farmiga) who poses a hypothetical situation: locate a fellow passenger who is transporting a stolen item on the train, and collect $100,000. But the challenge isn't easy, or even non-fatal, and as Michael reaches into his bag of cop tricks to figure out the identity of the passenger, threats are made and bodies start piling up. We had a chat with him about the film and what it was like to work with his co-stars. The Commuter knows how to take advantage of its setting and distinguish itself from its predecessors in the process. In Non-Stop, because Neeson's character is an air marshall, he knows numerous airplane crew, which helps him narrow down who can be trusted. The McCauleys lost their savings in that cluster.
Will Muschamp and his SC staff receive extensions, raises
The San Francisco 49ers drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 National Football League draft, but he never played. Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp also added the NCAA-approved 10th assistant coach by promoting Kyle Krantz.
A stranger on the train, played by, makes Michael an offer. He needs the money. I would have gone with: "The quiet vehicle is about to get loud". Collet-Serra's genre mechanics, stylized and sober, are efficient. "If I identify him, someone on this train is gonna kill him". AKA, no one's expecting this to be a masterpiece, and it's not. I can't exactly recommend "The Commuter", which drags in parts because it's working so hard to make its contrived story make sense, but I can't deny that I enjoyed quite a few parts of it. The latter would be more effective if we gave a rip about the former.
The Commuter isn't a tough puzzle to solve, and it veers closely to being obvious at times. This time instead of walking back and forth on a train, Neeson has to walk back and forth through every auto of a train like a world beaten and put upon Poirot.
After a half-hour of klutzing around with the exposition, "The Commuter" flings Neeson into full-on, CGI-assisted derring-do mode. Too bad, but then again, there are only so many times bad guys can put common man Neeson's family in harm's way before the mileage runs out on the setup.