Movie Review: “The Commuter” Is A New Take On “Taken”

“The script is plugged with lots of action and a few relief laughs at the very end when you are assured that the bad guys won’t win, but overall, don’t think too hard.”


A businessman is caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home.

Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) has been selling insurance for a decade and grinding through the commuting slog day in and day out as he works to provide for his wife and his son. His son is headed to an expensive college and that means a second mortgage on the house. Then the bad news: McCauley is laid off. He can’t bring himself to tell his wife over the phone who calls to make sure that the equity money will be in the bank that same day for when the college tuition check comes through. It’s the ugly facts of life, except it’s about to take a surprising turn – conveniently enough on MacCauley’s commute home.

But before he catches the train, he catches a few beers with Alex Murphy (Patrick Wilson), his ex-partner on the police force. There’s a bit of dialogue posed as ho-hum chitchat, but you know the script is plugging information for later reference in this “mind-boggling” plot. The monotony of the mundane continues until the mysterious but sultry appearance of “Joanna” (Vera Farmiga), a strange woman to the regular commuters. At first, she presents herself as someone who studies human behavior and just likes to amuse herself with hypothetical questions. Until the questions rapidly change into something more real and bewildering.

From this point on, Liam Neeson is his usual action-adventuring self, doing things that no 60-year-old with a desk job should ever be able to do. The plot is not so mind-boggling at all. In fact, it’s more of a mind blank. Honestly, I think the writers and the directors may have gotten really enthusiastic about their story but realized that the only real draw to this same, overtired story would only work if it starred an actor who had done several of these films already. It’s like making a martial arts movie without Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee or Jet Li. It’s just not going to go anywhere.

The script is plugged with lots of action and a few relief laughs at the very end when you are assured that the bad guys won’t win, but overall, don’t think too hard. It won’t be any fun if you figure out the plot-twist-twist 30 minutes into the film. The end is even more ridiculous in tying up loose ends because evidently the police department still want old-school sextuagenarians on the streets catching bad guys. However, two questions that will leave you hanging:

  1. Does Danny McCauley ever make it to that big shot university?
  2. And why was his dad reading all of his English literature for him?

In theaters Friday, January 12th


Jeanne Antoinette

Raised in the gypsy wanderings of two ex-Mennonites who dared to question traditional thought, Jeanne continues her family legacy - usually by asking [too] many questions and constantly exploring outside the box. She has lived in 11 states and has 11 college transcripts, which humorously combine to make her seem overqualified, but also minimally credentialed. She loves libraries, linguistics, singing, and of course, writing. Her passion, at its core, is about communication and connection through storytelling. Jeanne is currently practicing the art of "staying" in San Antonio, along with her two children.
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