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Movie Breakdown: The Commuter (Noah)

January 11, 2018

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Pre-Screening Stance:

It’s my first film of the year and though I know it’s another over-plotted, run-of-the-mill action flick by Jaume Collet-Serra and his elderly star, Liam Neeson, my optimism is high.

Post-Screening Ramble:

Jaume Collet-Serra has somehow carved a niche into the world of action-filmmaking based solely on the strange formula of his pictures. The Commuter does not alter this trend. Liam Neeson, who has now become an actor who should be credited “As Himself,” stars as a former-cop turned insurance agent who – after getting canned from his job – is offered $100,000 to find and kill someone on his daily commuter train. It’s basically Speed meets Under Siege 2 meets Unstoppable. And though this “dream” combo does sound entertaining in the dumbest of ways, Collet-Serra doesn’t add anything new. Instead we watch an old Liam Neeson (he talks about being 60 somewhere between five to ten times in the picture) sweatily running around on a train getting increasingly sinister phone calls from Vera Famiglia while interacting with a bunch of generally lacking side characters as he tries to find a person named “Prin.” And just when you think you’ve seen enough of Neeson rolling around under trains, barking commands at people and somehow (at his self-professed advanced aged) fighting off knife-wielding opponents, the film takes a sharp turn and becomes an exposition heavy, police negotiation flick. It fits into the madcap, off-kilter world of Collet-Serra’s oeuvre – action and sweaty Liam first, sensible plot last – but is it good? No.

One Last Thought:

I’ve never seen a movie with great actors squandered so mercilessly. Patrick Wilson is a blip in this film, same with Vera Famiglia, and worst of all Sam Neill, after his absolutely brilliant performance in Hunt for The Wilderpeople is relegated to the timeless sideline of “gruff older cop.” Phew, this turd of a flick must’ve cost more then a few shiny doubloons.

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