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The Commuter  : Such A Routine Ride
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Are you kidding?
Friday, January 26, 2018
Jaume Collett-Serra
Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Sam Neill, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth McGovern, Jonathan Banks

Director Jaume Collett-Serra and actor Liam Neeson who teamed up over pulse-racing thrillers like Non-Stop, go horribly wrong this time. It’s the physical premise of placing the action inside a train that gives it a déjà vu feeling. Right from Pelham 123and Silver Streak in the 70s tothe runaway train in Unstoppable in 2010, and many more, speedy action along a railway track has been overdone by filmmakers. 


So it’s ho-hum when ex-policeman Michael McCauley takes the train to work as usual. He gets fired from his insurance job, stresses about his financial situation with former colleagues over a drink and adventure awaits on the commute back home. Stranger Joanna asks him to spot a certain person on the train and put a tracker on him or her. There’s a large financial reward for it which is tempting in his present condition. While he’s still decidingif he wants to do it, a couple of killings on the train soon establish that this is serious business. But just like the formula used in Non-Stop, Michael now has the impossible task of first finding that one vital passenger.


The familiarity of the plot and the setting take away much of the thrill. But Liam Neeson has perfected the action package since his Taken franchise. It’s a combination of the mental skills of an investigative sleuth with physical punches, a variety of weapons and daredevil stunts. All done with the good intentions of a regular family man. The same full package is opened and displayed this time too, all over the train, inside, outside, everywhere.


The much-overused computer-generated finale of the train hurtling its way to disaster is a ride without thrills.The identity of the person behind it all also offers no big surprise.


It’s therefore the plot that derails along with the train. Not Neeson who at 65 still has his fists in fine form. Vera Farmiga as Joanna is always attractive but she doesn’t have to do anything other than to husk, ‘What kind of person are you?’   


I’d answer that by saying, I’m the kind of person who gets disappointed with repetition.


For an action film that’s as routine as Michael McCauley’s daily commute, The Commuter gets a 2* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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