Don't commit to Liam Neeson in 'The Commuter'

Liam Neeson's action heroes have a particular set of skills but they also have personal struggles that are relatable notes the director of 'The Commuter.'

Liam Neeson plays Michael MacCauley, an ex-cop turned insurance salesman with a wife at home and a son who's getting ready to enter college.

Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra directs an action thriller movie with Liam Neeson. After being contacted by a mysterious stranger, Michael is forced to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger on the train before the last stop.

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A brand new action-packed film clip has arrived for the thriller, which finds Neeson back in action-man mode.

Liam Neeson's latest action flick, "The Commuter", which hit theaters Friday, takes place on a commuter train the most seasoned riders may recognize as an embellished version of Metro-North.

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Lest audiences put too much tortuous thought into the motives or endgame of pretty much anyone in this scenario, Collet-Serra cranks up this locomotive as he knows best, building as much breathless, senseless real-time momentum as possible before train and plot go simultaneously, albeit spectacularly, off the rails. He only pays off the reference by having Michael flip off an asshole stockbroker riding the train with him, openly disdainful of taking public transportation. It becomes a race against time for the one-time officer of the law to sort out the mystery on the train, save his family from an uncertain fate, and punch a few people in the head for good measure.

That's not necessarily a problem in the Collet-Serra Cinematic Universe, but "The Commuter's" breakneck incoherence - not to mention a generally dour demeanor, shorter on incidental humor than most of the helmer's work - makes it a notch less fun than those previous ex-trash-aganzas. So it's a good thing we can count on Liam Neeson to periodically rescue us from these dark and desperate times. (You get the idea that this is how Neeson lives his life, too, pretending he's merely a down-to-earth type and not at all a grizzled badass.) Then one day he's unceremoniously let go by his employer, and after catching a beer with his old pal from the force, he gets on the train home and gets caught in the web of a woman named Joanna (Vera Farmiga). But easy, unsubtle, unabashedly masculine action films don't need nuance as long as they're this much of a goofy pleasure to watch. In other words, the plotting is simple and contrived, but it mostly serves as a shell in which to frame some over-the-top train-based action beats, so if that's what you've signed up to see, you're most definitely in luck. "We started it, so we have to be part of the solution", Neeson said. The Commuter is a film that knows precisely which side of the bread its butter is on, and, as a Neeson-led actioner, it delivers in abundance. That line might be the most true-to-life element in the whole film. Still, The Commuter gives fans of B-level entertainment exactly what they want, and it's hard to fault any film that does that.

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Those familiar with Neeson's work will be able to predict fairly easily how the story goes, especially those who have seen "Non-Stop" (the biggest difference between the two movies is the mode of transportation).

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