Liam Neeson is all aboard The Commuter in exclusive teaser trailer

Liam Neeson is all aboard The Commuter in exclusive teaser trailer

Given the fact that the majority of Liam Neeson's movies now involve him beating people up and acting like a insane person while trying to protect his family and/or some random innocent, that's a question worth asking. Leaving her as an on-board puppetmaster may have served the movie better.

"It's the first time in my movies with him that he's played just a regular guy", Collet-Serra (The Shallows) says with a laugh. After the film opens with the reasons for why he would agree to this silly plan, you're meant to go along for the ride despite what his police background would lead you to believe. We had a chat with him about the film and what it was like to work with his co-stars.

Neeson plays Michael McCauley, an ex-cop who has spent his last ten years as a life insurance salesman, commuting Monday through Friday into Grand Central from his family's suburban home up the Hudson in Tarrytown, N.Y. The movie's clever overlapping opening montage shows the repetition of his days, begun every day with 1010 Wins on the radio, a ride from his wife to the train station and the crowded but solitary walk through Grand Central. Ten years of the same old, same old and Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson; Taken) is a part of that grind. There's Shazad Latif as the business bro, Andy Nyman as the chatty neighbor, Florence Pugh as the punk teen - everyone is playing a part in the most literal sense possible (and with the clunky dialogue to boot), but it comes together.

Vera Farmiga was a delight to see. If MacCauley can identify a passenger who, as Joanna describes "does not belong", he will be rewarded with $100,000 cash. Obviously this isn't actually a hypothetical - if he doesn't mark the passenger with a tracker (that will then signal someone else on board to kill them), then his family will be killed. The train setting allows for him to give "The Commuter" a cool claustrophobic feel at times, but a late fight scene leaves something to be desired. While audiences might be left with only a few remaining films in Neeson's aging-hero action catalog (there's a handful in pre-production according to IMDB), THE COMMUTER won't be a stop on his career path that many will want to revisit.

For starters, it nearly seems like a parody of a modern day Neeson movie, which has become a genre unto itself.

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Or close to it, anyway. Just don't analyze too much. Stuff happens. In the end, he saves the train.

At its heart, The Commuter is very much a how movie rather than a why movie. However, Neeson is just so darn good in this type of movie.

The lazy script and even lazier performances are punctuated with some cheap CGI and camera effects - a reverse zoom-in going back through the train only cheapens the drama. This is a film built on a particular formula, after all.

While the idea of aging Liam Neeson as an action star has become something of a punchline recently, his latest genre effort and collaboration with filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra, The Commuter, does a fine job of illustrating why he keeps getting these roles. A boat seems like the obvious next choice. Planes, check; trains, check; there are only so many more places to go that are quite so contained as environments for a man to suffer a crisis of conscience, but it's hard not to hope that the options will be limitless. Then a stretch limo, maybe?

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