Words Glenn Blomfield
Not bad for 65 years, there is life in the old Irish Dog yet. Liam Neeson back in an action thriller; “Can he beat the clock and save the day?”. I feel I say this all too often in reviews, that line adage ‘nothing new here’, and yep, same goes here. The film starts with a stylistic promise, a clever montage, showing the repetitive nature of Liam Neeson’s character wake up and commute on the train to work, same routine but different things happening in his personal life, revealing what we need to know about his character.
Everything is turned upside down for Neeson, by what seems a random meeting with a woman (Vera Farminga) on his usual commute on the train, she throws him a hypothetical question, one that is a game changer. I was at this stage pleasantly getting hooked into what seemed a playful Alfred Hitchcock ‘Stranger on a Train’ (1951) scenario. Its a promising build in the plot, with twists to keep the interest going, though the final act is full blown crazy over the top action fodder. It’s like the film suddenly gave up on itself and went into silly-ville mode. I really felt like I was now watching another film, with the same characters, now looking like they are hamming it up, or trying to keep straight face, in what is a complete tonal shift.
It is fascinating to see a mystery thriller plot, where the tension is a race against time, save the day, before the looming last train station stop. However the film ends up just throwing narrative out the speeding train window and crashing, literally, into some blockbuster style hokum. But hey, Liam Neeson holds the fort with his acting, stoically controlling the screen. New Zealander Sam Neill has a small role, so its nice to see a familiar face from these shores. Once again there you have it, a review attempt for a film that seems to want to be many things but a good old tension Thriller. Oh well, there’s always the next train to catch.