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Friday, January 12, 2018

The Commuter 2018 * * Stars

The CommuterDirector: Jaume Collet-Serra
Year: 2018
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

It's January at the movie theaters and you know what that means. It means that it's Neeson time. Liam Neeson that is. He's the 65-year-old badass. He's the Buddha everyman. He's the AARP butt-kicker. He's well, the most reliable actor on the planet.

Neeson is perfectly cast in The Commuter despite the negative review I'm about to give it. He's an expert at playing the nice guy, retired cop whom the bad dudes choose to mess with. "Commuter" is also Liam's umpteenth showcase pic and his fourth collaboration with Spanish helmer, Jaume Collet-Serra. Neeson is Collet-Serra's unquieted muse and I liked their films Run All Night and Non-Stop. With The Commuter, they've unfortunately run into a misstep. This is an expendable, far-fetched redux that fumbles its way to a formidable "destination".

I will say this though. If you ride the Metra train to work (like my best friend does in Chi-Town), you might still think twice after getting a whiff of The Commuter's ransack, persecution complex.

Image result for the commuter 2018 movie scenes"Commuter", which is distributed by the long running production company StudioCanal, is almost identical to Collet-Serra's 2014 vehicle, Non-Stop (mentioned in the 2nd paragraph). The only difference is that The Commuter takes place on a fast-moving train as opposed to the nominal, friendly skies. In truth, you could call "Commuter" mindlessly Hitchcockian (as some critics have). For me, it could only be labeled Hitchcockian if it was channeled on the veritable Redbox tip.

Anyway, Jaume Collet-Serra is one of the most efficient, thriller directors out there. He knows how to produce beautiful, streamlined camerawork and his flicks are always tension-filled and twisty. With "Commuter" however, the execution is sloppy this time around. The obligatory tension is there but the editing and plausibility factor are hackwork at best. Also, "Commuter's" fistfight scenes are badly choreographed and its conclusion feels anti-climatic with the makings of a Hollywood cop out.

Image result for the commuter 2018 movie scenesIn retrospect, you should see The Commuter for Neeson alone but know that Oskar Schindler and Collet-Serra have had better days. "Commuter" thanklessly adds co-stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. Sadly, their roles as villain and would-be villain (spoiler) are too vague to examine. Rating: 2 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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