The Movie: 7/10
A man with special skills can handle almost anything, right? His daughter gets Taken, he’s raising his stepson alone and he has to learn to Love, Actually. His brother is a junky so he has to Run All Night. A wolf torments a frozen outpost so he learns all about The Grey. He trains a Jedi and a superhero dressed like a bat, saves Jewish people during WWII, and even rules a kingdom as a lion. Skills, mad skills. Now we get to see his ability to be an ex-insurance salesman/ex-police officer cope with a high stress situation on a subway.
I enjoyed The Commuter for what it is, an attempt at an action thriller. I say attempt because it’s not that much of a thriller for me, and the action is contained, but still good. There is a fight scene even I appreciate. I’m not a fan of long fight sequences, but since Dr. No I’m a fan of small enclosed areas where to trained actors can do their choreographed fighting dance and make me think they are knocking the crap out of each other.
The story isn’t original, not by any stretch. A mysterious woman gives him a task to do or she’ll hurt his family. OK, so it’s really really really not original, and yet I was happy to go along for the ride, all the way to the end of the line. (little subway humor, very little). It’s the quality of all the elements that make a movie either success or fail on an old idea. The Commuter is fine with me, kind of dumb but well executed.
We meet that group of people, you know the ones, the individuals writers assemble for disaster type situations. There’s a mouthy guy who we hate and want to see go first. There’s the young punk who only appears to be tough but really has her own problems. There’s the angry woman who wants to just be left alone, and the plucky young guy who wants to help…and on and on. We are just 2-dimensional characters if we’re honest, with a few bits of depth now and then through our lives, but these Hollywood people and other people who tell stories really do love to distill us down to caricatures. In some movies it’s too much, the characters are just too flimsy to make me care, but this time around I was reasonably concerned about some of the people on the train with our skillful leading man.
Overall I enjoyed the movie enough that it’s memorable and I would recommend it for a weekend movie night for sure. Don’t bring your thinking caps people, just a bowl of popcorn and a beverage. If you want a high quality Neeson film, he’s got a few, so do your research to balance out his new-found action hero character we have become so used to over the last few years.
- End Of The Line (9 Minutes) – EPK style featurette with interviews from the cast over scenes from the film.
- Off The Rails (4 Minutes) – Very similar to the first featurette but a little more detailed. Nothing here that enhances the film though.
- 4KUHD, Blu-ray & UV Digital Copy
Audio & Video: 8/10
The commuter comes to Blu-ray & 4K with an AVC encode at 2.39:1 aspect. This is actually a stunning looking transfer that unfortunately makes the very green screeny special effects look a lot worse. Close up shots are full of fine detail and shadow levels are black and inky. I saw no signs of macro-blocking or ringing even in the dark gloomy scenes towards the end.
Audio is handled by a state of the art Dolby Atmos track that makes the film seem alive especially during action sequences. LFE and overhead effects are used often and the actual noise of the train is so believable you will think you are on one.
Overall Score 7/10