Neeson can pretty much sleepwalk through these types of roles, and his effortless charisma adds depth and sympathy to a sad-sack character.
Over the years, the talented and pulp-friendly director Jaume Collet-Serra and the one and only Liam Neeson have teamed up for a number of action thrillers with plausibility-stretching plots.
Calling The Commuter, "Taken on a Train" isn't fair to Taken.
How bad is this thing?
Then, he addressed what men have to do, saying, "We, as men, have got to be part of it, you know?" And rarely has breakaway glass been so obviously ... well, breakaway glass.
Neeson stars as Michael MacCauley, an insurance salesman and ex-cop who has taken the same commute from the leafy suburbs to New York City so often that he's come to develop a familiar, yet impersonal, relationship with other regulars on the train. It's hard to look at The Commuter (Neeson's fourth collaboration with Jaume Collet-Serra since 2011) and see what sets it apart from... well, almost everything. Joanna (Vera Farmiga), the mysterious high-heeled figure seated across from Michael on the train, promises a payday - $25,000 in a bag in the bathroom; another $75,000 in cash later - if the desperate family man can identify the passenger that Joanna claims doesn't belong and is carrying a package of potentially fatal importance. As Michael races against the clock to find the mystery passenger before they get off the train, he comes to realize that not only his own life, but the lives of every passenger onboard, and even his own family, is at risk if he fails.
Eventually, Michael gets more and more hysterical in the search for the elusive passenger known only as "Prin" (intentionally misspelled to preserve the mystery), attempting to loop his former partner (Patrick Wilson) into the situation, oddly interrogating everyone including a young ticket taker (Adam Nagaitis), an obnoxious yuppie broker (Shazad Latif), and a scared nurse (Clara Lago), and getting more and more confused as to the conspiracy that has been so carefully orchestrated around him.
Many ridiculous things happen on the train.
There is a train sequence that is so bad.
The train is filled with stereotypes and caricatures, from the wisecracking, would-be womanizer of a young conductor to the nervous nurse to the jerky Wall Street guy to the student with a nose ring and pink hair to the old-timer named Walt contemplating retirement to the suspicious-looking meathead Michael has never seen on the train before. It's awesome how many shots are fired and how much brutality takes place before the passengers just a auto or two away become aware of Michael's Very Rough Day. Any one of them could be the mysterious person Michael has been tasked with finding; any one of them could be working with Joanna and looking to kill Michael. In one moment at the Tarrytown drop-off, Michael and his wife laugh congenially; in the next, they weep and argue.