**/**** Image A Sound A Extras D+
starring Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill
screenplay by Byron Willinger & Philip De Blasi and Ryan Engle
directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
by Bill Chambers SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. I love a good train movie. Most of them since the publication of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express have combined elements of the drawing-room mystery with comedy, and I guess my problem with The Commuter is that it's more perplexing and silly than intriguing and witty. In addition, by taking place aboard a commuter train, it clarifies why long-distance trains are the genre's preferred setting, because not only do the latter provide, with their dining cars and their sleeping compartments, a richer visual backdrop, but they also don't have to keep stopping every few minutes to let people out, imposing commercial breaks on the narrative. In short, long-distance trains are cinema, commuter trains are TV. That's probably a derogatory and even borderline-meaningless distinction now, yet The Commuter is ephemeral in a way that B-movies often aren't but episodic television of the franchised-to-death sort that keeps networks afloat these days typically is. I have this abstract wish that it was "better," mainly because this is Liam Neeson's purported departure from the action genre, the moribund mainstream division of which he single-handedly revived. He deserves a less anticlimactic send-off.