Anyhoo, one day, he realises just how much debt he’s in, and while having the day from hell, he meets Joanna (Vera Farmiga), a woman who promises him a stack of cash in return for dealing with “someone who doesn’t belong” on the train. They’re carrying a bag with a stolen item. He has until the next stop to decide whether to take on the task and, if so, then until the end of the line to find them and deal with them… Now, any normal person would just think she’s completely out to lunch and that’s that.
It gets beyond ridiculous as people are in precisely the right place at the right time, and how come tickets on the back of seat indicate where someone’s going? In the UK, you keep your tickets on you, and seats aren’t automatically assigned for specific people. Plus, for a busy commuter train, why is it so empty? Have you tried a train in or out of Manchester at rush hour? It’s heaving!!!
The same director, Jaume Collet-Serra, also put Liam Neeson in a plane for 2014’s Non-Stop. While I didn’t see that until it was on TV, there was always one thing about it which irritated me immensely. I’ll put it within a spoiler header in case you haven’t seen it:
And one other thing which is a spoiler, but I have to make this point, so only read if you’ve seen it.
Liam: “Yes, bog off.”
The Commuter shares similarities to Tom Hardy’s Locke, where he drove from A to B and they actually filmed him doing so, which must’ve required numerous retakes as they got the specific journey spot on. This one mostly uses Liam on a train carriage in a studio with green screen providing the backdrop and CGI to make it look like the sun’s shining no his face, or that it’s dark inside a station.
However, despite this film being as crazy as it gets, and as predictable as some elements are, it still maintains your interest with a few big laughs along the way, and if you enjoy Liam Neeson talking in hushed tones in a movie about once a year, this one’s for you. That said, there was one moment, 50 minutes in, so daft that when it came to a particular situation, I laughed so much that I coughed up phlegm.
Yes, so it’s Taken On A Train, but whatever your thoughts, these Neeson actioners cost less than $50m to make and then more than make their money back, taking in both cinema and home viewing revenue. This one cost $30m, and a film has to take 3 times its budget to turn a profit to account for all the marketing. This one has earned $120m to date. Not as much as Taken 2‘s $376m – one of his biggest box office successes in recent memory, but still enough to go KERCHING!
Additionally, I’m glad this was not released via 20th Century Fox, since whenever they get a Liam Neeson film, they slice it down a certificate for the cinema release – as happened with all three Taken films, the uncut version only going becoming available to home viewing. The film is a PG-13 in the US, which usually equates to a 12-cert in the UK, but on checking the BBFC site, it’s clearly the repeated heavy punches to the face, as fights break out, which has turned this into a 15-cert.
The film is presented in the theatrical 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and in 1080p high definition and for a Blu-ray of a modern film, you’d be surprised if the picture wasn’t spot-on, but then all the cast were shot on digital cameras and everything else was CGI aplenty, so it’s going to make the best of the bright daytime scenes, in particular.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (and 7.1 Dolby Atmos, if you have enough speakers), and there’s lots of whizzing about around the speakers while you’re inside the train.
The extras are two, brief watch-once elements:
- Interview with Liam Neeson (4:21): A bog-standard Q&A where the Q is on a card and the A is spoken by Neeson. It’s the kind of thing TV stations could slot in to fill time. There is an interviewer off-camera, but all you get out of them is a “uh-uh” about halfway through.
- Making Of (1:46): Clips from the film mixed with soundbites. At less than two minutes, it’s goes through more quickly than Donald Trump lasts between the sheets.
The menu features clips from the film set to a brief piece of the theme, subtitles are in English only and chapters are the usual lacklustre 12. There are also trailers before the main menu for films I won’t name since they should be in the extras menu.
Running time: 105 minutes
Released: May 21st 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 7.1 Dolby Atmos, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Widescreen: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Producesr: Alex Heineman and Andrew Rona
Screenplay: Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi and Ryan Engle
Music: Roque Baños
Michael MacCauley: Liam Neeson
Joanna: Vera Farmiga
Alex Murphy: Patrick Wilson
Walt: Jonathan Banks
Captain Hawthorne: Sam Neill
Karen MacCauley: Elizabeth McGovern
Dylan: Killian Scott
Vince: Shazad Latif
Tony: Andy Nyman
Eva: Clara Lago
Jackson: Roland Møller
Gwen: Florence Pugh
Danny MacCauley: Dean-Charles Chapman
Sofia: Ella-Rae Smith
Sherri: Nila Aalia
Conductor Sam: Colin McFarlane
Oliver: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Conductor Jimmy: Adam Nagaitis
Agent Garcia: Kingsley Ben-Adir
Agent Denys: Damson Idris
Manny Engineer: Andy Lucas
Caleb O’Malley: Zaak Conway
Frank: Ben Caplan
Jules Skateboarder: Letitia Wright
Sean O’Malley: Simon Hibbs
Sniper: Nathan Wiley
Nathan: Jamie Beamish
Officer O’Neal: John Alastair
Gwen’s Boyfriend: Edward Bluemel
Jeanie: Aoife Hinds
Officer Jones: Alana Maria
Enrique Mendez: Jaime Menendez
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.