Reports of Liam Neeson's action hero demise were greatly exaggerated - by the man himself.
Four months on from telling journalists that, at 65, he was a geriatric for the genre, the Free Travel-approaching Neeson acquits himself with goer gusto in The Commuter. It's his fourth film with director Jaume Collet-Serra after Unknown, Non-Stop and Run All Night, and while he keeps his side of the beat-em-up bargain, he deserved a better vehicle for his talents than this train-set thriller.
Playing like Rebirth of a Salesman, The Commuter sees Neeson's insurance hawker arriving at the stop named P45 and then getting an offer he can't refuse from another passenger (Vera Farmiga - underused like Elizabeth McGovern and Sam Neill) on the train back home. Every man, as they say, has his thumbscrew, and Farmiga's mystery woman twists good-o in this movie, a whoisit rather than a whodunit.
The first half is great fun, with Neeson gravelling and growling his way through every line as only he can. Yes, he's on the phone; yes, he looks great with a manbag and yes, it's not long before his crisp Oxford is only fit for the bin. In a nice bit of Die Irish casting, Killian Scott is among those to receive a larruping. Reckon he's still sounding the reverse alarm whenever he goes to sit in a chair...
But for all the style and slickness, The Commuter literally goes off the rails and ends up feeling too close to the man-in-a-box trip we took aboard Non-Stop's doomed Transatlantic flight. Like that movie, the CGI during the big finale is silly.
Neeson and Collet-Serra are planning a fifth film together. After this, they need to make sure we're all in first class.