Liam Neeson won’t deny moviegoers his “particular set of skills.”
It’s been nearly a decade since Liam Neeson starred in Taken, the film where he introduced kidnappers to his “very particular set of skills,” and introduced audiences to the “old-man-action” phase of his career (see Charles Bronson). In the years since, Neeson has continued kicking all kinds of ass in modestly budgeted yet unabashedly fun action flicks. Although he continues to hint at making an exit from action pictures, the credits on Neeson’s IMDb page show no sign of his old-man-action rampage letting up. Case in point: Neeson’s upcoming action-thriller, The Commuter.
Hollywood calls January and February the dump months. It’s the time of the year where studios “dump” sloppy productions that shouldn’t see the light of day. The Commuter’s release date is January 12th and my mind tells me that I should avoid any reasonably budgeted thriller that drops in the dead of January. My heart, on the other hand, tells me that I owe this picture and its director, Jaume Collet-Serra, a fair shake.
Collet-Serra has been directing films since 2005 but it wasn’t until last year that he earned my goodwill. I was ho-hum on his 2014 picture Non-Stop and his 2015 crime-thriller, Run All Night, sits on my “I need to get around to it” list. It’s Collet-Serra’s latest picture, The Shallows, where I stopped to take notice of his work. With The Shallows, Collet-Serra took a potentially schlocky summer thriller featuring a bloodthirsty shark and a whole lot of Blake Lively, and made it better than it had any right to be; so from now on, I’m willing to check out whatever picture he has coming down the line.
Also working in The Commuter’s favor is its solid all-around cast. First off, there’s Neeson, who I’m down to watch kick ass any day of the week. The film also features The Conjuring’s ghostbusting heroes, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), two actors who are welcome additions to any cast. And although the trailer makes the very spoilery decision to show him getting tossed in front of a moving bus, we know that Jonathan Banks shows up in the film at some point. If you blink during the trailer you may miss Sam Neill’s flicker of screen time. I can’t help but peg Neill as that one character who always shows up to work with the hero and inevitably turns out to be a villain in the third act.
The Commuter looks like it’s right in Collet-Serra and Neeson’s wheelhouse. The trailer features fisticuffs, an envelope packed with dirty money, and a wonky CG set piece that looks like previz for a The Fast and the Furious movie. The Commuter’s strong cast and its pulpy action-thriller trailer have me ready to let down my guard and gamble on a non-Oscar bait dump month release.
You can catch The Commuter in theaters January 12, 2018.
Here’s The Commuter’s synopsis:
In this action-packed thriller, Liam Neeson plays an insurance salesman, Michael, on his daily commute home, which quickly becomes anything but routine. After being contacted by a mysterious stranger, Michael is forced to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger on his train before the last stop. As he works against the clock to solve the puzzle, he realizes a deadly plan is unfolding and is unwittingly caught up in a criminal conspiracy. One that carries life and death stakes, for himself and his fellow passengers.