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The Commuter (5/10)

by Tony Medley

Every few years since Taken (2008) was a runaway hit 10 years ago, Liam Neeson has come out with a similar type thriller. He is always a man alone facing insurmountable odds. Each time the resulting film has been a little weaker than the one that came before. This one is simply preposterous.

Directed by Juame Collet-Serra from a script by Brien Willinger, Philip de Blasi, and Ryan Engle, they place Michael Macauley (Neeson) on a train where he is accosted by a beautiful woman, Joanna (Vera Farmiga), who manipulates him into trying to find somebody on the train before it gets to a certain stop. She then disappears.

What ensues is, basically, one ridiculous plot hole after another. But the biggest pothole is that the people behind this know every move Michael makes, or is going to make, before he makes it. They are in contact with him through cell phones, even though he doesn’t have a cell phone.

Omniscient as they seem, however, they know everything except the identity of the person he’s trying to find. It's straining credulity to the breaking point that these people could be so organized and knowledgeable, but wouldn't know who it was they are after. There is tension throughout as Michael tries to comply with the instructions and Neeson does a good job of reflecting the virtual impossibility of his dire situation. And there’s a lot of action. Unfortunately, almost every scene is inexplicable and devoid of common sense including the ending.

And, speaking of endings, it seems to me that it is time that Neeson puts an end to these woefully weak follow-ups to Taken, or find better material.