Viewed – 24 January 2018 Cinema
I can’t say I was all that hyped by this. Despite seeing the trailer at one stage, I had pretty much passed it off as just another typical Liam Neeson thriller. Now at one stage that phrase would have been exciting. After all Taken remains one of the best thrillers of the last decade or so. He followed this up with similar high-concept thrillers like Unknown, the two Taken sequels and Non-Stop. So as you can imagine, it soon began to get a little clichéd. Just as well then that this movie was a pleasant surprise.
Neeson plays an Insurance Salesman who takes the train to and from work every day and has done for the last ten years. Nothing all that interesting ever happens. However one day after hearing some bad news, he’s heading back home when a mysterious woman (Vera Farmiga) approaches him and offers a task – find a particular person and place a tracking device on them. If he does so before his stop comes, he’ll receive a bundle of cash. Easy huh?
Think Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers on a Train’ meets ‘Speed’ with plenty of fist fights. I was swept up in the ‘who is it’ mystery of it all, what the people the woman works for might want with said person and just how Neeson is going to get out of an increasingly desperate situation. Add a claustrophobic setting and welcome support from Sam Neil and Patrick Wilson and I found myself suitably thrilled. Neeson can make even the silliest plot work with his grizzled Irish charm and screen presence, and although it gets rather crazy and typical Hollywood-over-the-top in the final act – I came away both surprised and thoroughly entertained.
One not to pass up just because you might think you’ve seen it all before.
Verdict: 3.5 /5