McCoy on Movies: The Commuter

McCoy on Movies: The Commuter

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Liam Neeson takes a familiar ticket to ride with latest action movie entry. See if it's a train wreck or on a fast track to box office success!


“Hold on – this workout is phenomenal for your core!” Michael (Liam Neeson, in suit on right) tries to help a train conductor separate passenger cars in a scene from THE COMMUTER. Credit: Jay Maidment © 2018 Lionsgate Publicity. All rights reserved.



KEY CAST MEMBERS: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth McGovern, Andy Nyman, Sam Neill, Colin McFarlane, Shazad Latif and Ella-Rae Smith


WRITER(S): Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (screenplay); Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell (book, The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made on which the film is based)

DIRECTOR(S): Jaume Collett-Serra

WEB SITE:’S THE STORY: Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) has had a very rough day at work. Sure, he did get to hang out with his old police partner Alex Murphy (Patrick Wilson) for a bit, but with the news he gave him, it wasn’t exactly a happy occasion. But at least it will all be over soon, for all he has to do is catch the train so he can get home.

There’s just one problem – a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) has just given him a curious hypothetical question to ponder: Would he help find a person on the train named Pryn in exchange for $100,000. There’s just one other little problem if he does – that person is likely going to be in a lot of trouble. 

Thus, once Michael realizes the question isn’t hypothetical and the mysterious woman has now threatened his family’s safety, is watching him at all times and already exited the train, he is left with no choice but to do what she says … Unless he can find a way out.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Die-hard Liam Neeson or 80s/90s action movie fans; people who like whodunit movies 

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who thought the messing with Liam Neeson’s family train (no pun intended) should have stopped with Taken 3

SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? At this point in his career, you can watch about 30 seconds of a Liam Neeson trailer and nine times out of 10, you will come to the same conclusion: This is a Liam Neeson movie where Liam Neeson does Liam Neeson things – especially if someone has messed with his family. Don’t believe me? These guys immortalized Neeson before going they’re separate ways onto bigger and better things. 

And there you have just about everything you need to know about The Commuter – for it is simply the latest entry into the world of movies that prove illustrate the mantra “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” … Even if the formula may finally be at its breaking point as it the time may have come for Neeson to move on to something else. 

Neither Neeson nor director Jaume Collet-Serra try to reinvent the cinematic wheel at any point in The Commuter; instead, they just try to hit the usual beats in a movie of its ilk as best they can without being too insulting to the audience to try to keep most of its plausibility somewhat plausible. Neeson does his best to make Michael a classic put-upon figure forced into an impossible, damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t-situation. He’s in disbelief at first, then desperate before launching into eventual “now you’ve done it – I’m not playing your games!” mode. (He even says the line in the film, for goodness sake).

Essentially a paint-by-numbers action movie, The Commuter doesn’t make waves, it just rides along its familiar tracks for its in-and-out journey before arriving at a climax that is rather anti-climatic, all things considered. It’s not horrible by any means; it just is everything you’d expect it to be. It’s like riding a cinematic bike – even if there are times it feels like the training wheels need to come off. 

It’s one thing for Liam Neeson’s action movies to be immortalized in a Key & Peele sketch; it’s another thing for his movies to almost feel like they have become a parody of their selves. Thus, while the ride isn’t quite bumpy, it’s not quite that smooth, either … That is, unless, you’ve become so accustomed to it all you care about is getting home at the end of the day.


Tabari McCoy
Columnist - Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. An award-winning stand-up comedian who also works as the public relations director at Cincinnati Museum Center, Tabari McCoy is the creator of McCoy on Movies, a blog about movies for film fans. The blog is written by someone who also likes movies that is smart enough to know his opinion isn't always the right one but is willing to express that opinion in public. McCoy also used to review movies for his college paper and a major metropolitan publication, so that helps add to his "street cred." Contact him at You can also check out more of his work on his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy.