It’s easy to make fun of Liam Neeson’s late-era action films. And when it comes to, say, Taken 3 (Tak3n?), that mockery is entirely justified. But it’s hard to quibble with the actor’s collaborations with genre-film maestro Jaume Collet-Serra. Their latest venture, The Commuter, is easy to make fun of – now Liam Neeson punches people on a train! – but much like Non-Stop, this is a film that doesn’t shy away from its silliness. It’s silly, sure, but it’s also thrilling and kinetic and impeccably crafted.
Collet-Serra himself describes the film as a “spiritual sequel” to Non-Stop, and the two films undeniably have a great deal in common. The director’s films twist absurd action around Agatha Christie, and no-one – except I guess Hitchcock – can do it as well as him. These films are never going to be ‘artistic’ masterpieces – you’re not going to work out with a profoundly different understanding of the human condition – but they’re about as excellent as movies like this get. The primary point of difference from Non-Stop is that the plot is a sliver more plausible; the trade-off is that the expository climax is a little drawn out. Eh; just hop on board and enjoy the ride.