Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Liam Neeson Slams Hollywood Gender Pay Divide: 'F-ing Disgraceful'

Liam Neeson Slams Hollywood Gender Pay Divide: 'F-ing Disgraceful'

In an interview with Sky News last September, Liam Neeson said he was retiring from action movies.

If you're hoping for some clever one-liners, don't get your hopes up.

Neeson stars as Michael McCauley, a former NYPD cop turned insurance salesman. It's nearly as if it's Taken meets Strangers on the Train. This is a disaster for Michael, who's five years from retirement and is about to send Danny off to college - adding to the family's already-tight finances. There, the pair encounter Hawthorne (Sam Neill), who recently has made captain. Same movie. Train this time.

Now we only have one question left for you, Liam ... There is a down payment of $25,000 hidden in a bathroom on the train, she tells him, and $75,000 more that will be given to him upon completion of the task.

Initially, he doesn't believe the offer, but shortly after Joanna exits the train, he goes to retrieve the packet of money, exactly as she described. As luck would have it, like riding a bicycle, those skills - while not quite as special as the ones to which "Taken" fans became accustomed - are quickly put to use as he schleps between cars, simultaneously trying to find the mystery passenger and discover a way out of his predicament. He knows all the regular passengers, and exchanges pleasantries and chit-chat with many of them.

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It is a fine mystery, and when the person is revealed deep into the story, we are shown the tiny clue we may have missed.

The screenplay (credited to Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi and Ryan Engle) is engaging but at times convoluted in its logistics, especially after the crystalline simplicity of Collet-Serra's shark-versus-girl number The Shallows (2016).

Despite the predictability and lack of originality, "The Commuter" still manages to be entertaining thanks to methodical directorial choices and strong performances from the cast - both elements thatbolster the feel-good story of aneverymantrying to do what's right. He can't break the news to his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) over the phone, so he relies on an old police buddy (Patrick Wilson) and his fellow commuters for comforting words.

One of the great disappointments of "The Commuter" is the structure doesn't allow for much screen time for the talented Farmiga. The downside is, The Commuter is more interested in getting to the next scene of Neeson punching someone than it is fleshing out its characters or exploring the political overtones of its narrative.

And Collet-Serra's direction is a mixed bag. Although the plot drags itself down, Collet-Serra largely keeps the pace of the film up, but his attempts at making the material visually interesting-a long extended shot down the entire length of the train, an extended, seemingly one-take fight sequence-only end up showing the seams where CG is being employed in what should nominally be a gritty and non-enhanced narrative. At a certain point, "The Commuter" stops feeling like a tense, nimble thriller and more like a traditional Hollywood blockbuster, rife with explosions and cliched dialogue, which undercuts some of the dramatic tension that the first act works to build.

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