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Movie Review

The daily commute tends to be fairly predictable: traveling from point A to point B, with perhaps an entertaining conversation thrown into the mix occasionally. At least, that's how it's been over the past decade for Michael MacCauley.

Michael is a hard-working life insurance agent, his wife is a realtor, and his son is on his way to Syracuse. But on one of his daily commutes into the city, he learns that he is being fired … right before retirement. This comes as quite a shock, especially since his son's tuition is anything but cheap.

But just as he's about to give up hope, a mysterious, flirtatious woman on his commute offers him the deal of a lifetime: Find the one person who doesn't belong on the train, and he'll get $100,000.

It's a tempting offer, especially for a man who no longer has any prospects. However, there's an obvious catch: He must find this faceless passenger before the train's very last stop at Cold Springs.

And there might be a less-obvious catch too: As Michael begins to suspect there's more going on than meets the eye, he'll have to decide what kind of person he wants to be, and at what price.

Positive Elements

Michael and his wife, Karen, are portrayed as a loving couple with a wonderful family. Michael is the sort of guy who would never hide anything from his family, someone who would give all that he has to protect and provide—no matter the cost. And he proves to be fairly heroic even on behalf of people he doesn't know, too.

Once the identity of the individual is uncovered, a person going by the name of Prim, multiple passengers on the train also refer to themselves as "Prim" to protect that person. This banding together portrays a sense of unity and goodness that other characters in the film blatantly lack. One person on the train tells Michael, "I help people, I don't kill people."

[Spoiler Warning] Michael begins to realize that Prim is destined for a grim end. Eventually he decides that he cannot do what's asked of him—not even for $100,000—because it will result in an innocent person's death.

Spiritual Content

Someone mentions that God only financially blesses certain people. A passenger refers to the conditions of the train as the "seventh circle of hell," a reference to Dante's Inferno.

Sexual Content

Michael and his wife are seen in bed together, clothed, in a couple of scenes. They also kiss a few times.

A train conductor flirts with various women. A fellow passenger fends off her boyfriend numerous times as he aggressively tries to kiss her. Looking for Prim, Michael tells the conductor that he is looking for an "online date," followed with a suggestive wink.

Violent Content

Due to Michael's hesitancy to identify and locate Prim, a fellow commuter is pushed in front of an oncoming bus—thus increasing the pressure on Michael to perform. He's also told that everyone on the train will die if he refuses to comply. The film's villains threaten the lives of his wife and son, too.

Michael's aggressive strategy for quickly finding the person he's looking for includes punching, kicking, knives and guns—with a few more people dying as the story unfolds. A dead FBI agent, for example, is stowed underneath the train. But amid all the fighting, explosions and brutality that eventually transpires, little blood is actually seen.

Someone says, "Sometimes soldiers end up as casualties." A man named Murphy, Michael's ex-partner in the police force, says that there is "no such thing as noble" anymore.

Michael asks his son if a certain character is murdered in the book he's reading, Lord of the Flies. Someone gets sprayed in the face with pepper spray.

Crude or Profane Language

We hear one f-word. Jesus’ name is misused five times, while God’s name is paired with “d--n” about half a dozen times. We hear four uses of "h---," and two each of "a--hole" and "frickin'." A handful of other vulgarities include "pr--k" and "b--tard," as well as "sucks and "scumbag." We also see a crude hand gesture.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Michael and Murphy have a drink at a local pub.

Other Negative Elements

A wealthy fellow passenger is rude and dismissive to the less-fortunate folks all around him, telling a young girl he dislikes her "99 cent perfume."

Some law enforcement officials are secretly corrupt. Murphy mentions that his kids "hate his guts," and he tells Michael that he's gotten divorced. Michael's son, Danny, stays up all night on FaceTime with a girl.

A fellow commuter mentions to Michael, "My prostate is bigger than your head."

Conclusion

Just when you thought the Taken franchise had concluded, has it reared its predictable head once again?

Well, not technically. Obviously, The Commuter isn't a literal Taken sequel. But it has so many similarities to Liam Neeson's previous action franchise that it's almost impossible not to connect these dramatic dots.

A quiet everyman fights the bad guys. He rescues the helpless. He does the right thing. It's all routine for Liam Neeson, a man who's honed his theatrical skills playing men with "a particular set of skills."

Neeson, 65, insisted as recently as Sept. 2017 that he's done with action films. And yet, here he is again, still proving that he's capable of doing whatever is necessary to stop the bad guys in this fast-paced thriller may at times make you grimace at its violence or frown at its foul language.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Liam Neeson as Michael MacCauley; Vera Farmiga as Joanna; Patrick Wilson as Alex Murphy; Jonathan Banks as Walt; Sam Neill as Captain Hawthorne; Elizabeth McGovern as Karen MacCauley; Dean-Charles Chapman as Danny MacCauley and Ella-Rae Smith as Sofia.

Director

Jaume Collet-Serra ( )

Distributor

Lionsgate Films

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

January 12, 2018

On Video

April 17, 2018

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults
We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.