Tag Archives: Taken

The Commuter Is a Train That Should Be Stopped

In 2008 movie-goers realized Liam Neeson was an undiscovered, action icon after watching Taken. What they didn’t know is that Hollywood would exploit this idea for nearly a decade.

Liam Neeson in The Commuter

Liam Neeson in The Commuter

Fast-forward ten years and The Commuter, from director Jaume Collet-Serra, is now in theaters. Just four years after making a movie where Neeson is a gun-wielding hero on a plane, he is doing the same thing but this time—on a train.

After being fired from his job, a few years shy of his retirement, Michael (Neeson) sits on the commuter train debating how he is going to tell his wife and his son (a recently-accepted college student). That is when he is approached by a stranger (Vera Ferminga) and given a “hypothetical” question: would he be willing to identify a passenger who doesn’t belong for $100,000. With some persuasion, Michael accepts the task only to discover soon he is about to get way more than he bargained for.

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Blackhat is Encoded with Mediocre Software

Cybercrime and computer hacking are some of the most popular forms of criminal activity in this modern age. It is becoming extremely alarming as these activities become more common and hit close to home, especially since famous hacks on Target and, most recently, Sony. So, what better way to tell an original crime story than using these cybercrime as inspiration. Filmmaker, Michael Mann, who hasn’t directed a film since 2009 will team up with Thor, the God of Thunder for his new film— Blackhat.

Chris Hemsworth in Blackhat

Chris Hemsworth in Blackhat

Blackhat tells the story of Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), a furloughed criminal who is chosen to help Chinese and American agencies track down and capture a major cyber criminal.

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A Walk Among the Tombstones

In 1994, crime novel author Lawrence Block was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. Block earned this honor because of his famous long-running series set in New York that followed P.I. Matthew Scudder. The series began in 1976, with the book “The Sins of the Fathers” and it has continued into 2013. There are a total of 18 novels in the Scudder series. However, he earned the title of Grand Master only two years after he wrote the tenth installment of the series, “A Walk Among the Tombstones.” Now, 22 years later, writer-director Scott Frank has adapted this novel for the big screen.

Liam Neeson in "A Walk Among the Tombstones"

Liam Neeson in “A Walk Among the Tombstones”

This movie follows P.I. Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) who is hired by a drug dealer to find out who kidnapped and killed his wife.

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Non-Stop

 Looking back at Liam Neeson’s recent filmography, it is easy to anoint him as one of the best action leading men from 2008 onwards. Since starring in the fan favorite Taken, Liam has continued his success as an action hero thanks to his numerous high-profile, big-budget films. Because of those roles, many people now only view him as an action star; however, Liam has had a diverse career prior to Taken. He was able to star in several acclaimed films and stage productions, which earned him numerous praises and even one Oscar nomination. By heart, Liam Neeson is a dramatic actor. So, what makes Neeson such a good action star? Look no further than to what makes him such a good actor to begin with. He is able to provide substance in any role, and is always convincing, likable, and dedicated to his character. With his latest effort in Non-Stop, Neeson is at it again being the compelling hero who must stop at nothing in order to save hundreds of people.

Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson in Non-Stop

Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson in Non-Stop

Non-Stop follows troubled air marshal, Bill Marks, on what appears to be another routine transatlantic flight. Shortly after the plane takes off, the entire airplane might be at risk. Marks receives a string of text messages that threatens the passengers on the aircraft unless the airline transfers $150 million into an unverified bank account. With his career and reputation on the line, Marks must protect the passengers at all cost even if it means risking everything he has.

Non-Stop is a smart, well-crafted action thriller that always finds a way to please the audience. From start to finish, you will be on the edge of your seat. The plot line may be preposterous, but you will be willing to suspend your disbeliefs because the film is as entertaining as it is engaging. Director, Jaume Collet-Serra, adds a nice style to the film. There are inspired sequences that capture the confines of the aircraft, and the action scenes are simply well done. This style of the film adds a unique sense of involvement, action, and surprises. Collet-Serra also does a wonderful job deceiving the audience. The majority of the film is a cat and mouse chase that has you actively trying to figure out who is the villain. Non-Stop has the character involvement reminiscent of the original Die Hard mixed with the urgency and desperation of Speed. All of this adds to an action thriller that knows what it wants to be, and becomes good, old-fashioned fun.

What really makes Non-Stop memorable is once again we have an action hero that is not only relatable, but also very human. Neeson portrays Bill Marks in a very genuine and passionate manner. He never stops being convincing, and is able to command every scene he is in. The audience sympathizes for him, and elatedly cheers for his every success. Non-Stop has reintroduce pathos to the action star, and Liam Neeson is given a character that is more than just your average one-dimensional hero. In hindsight, the character and performance is very reminiscent of Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Both characters have somewhat of a troubled past, but both are undeniably good men who are trying to do good. Additionally, both men are stuck in a confined space when chaos strikes, and both men are not invincible. Throughout both movies, they are constantly battered and bruised, which makes both of their journeys rewarding. By following this model, Non-Stop has a hero worth cheering for.

Along with the solid Neeson, the whole cast is equally engaging. They all grab the attention of the audience. The always great Juliane Moore is extremely heartfelt in her performance, Scoot McNairy is so potently convincing that he blends in and stands out at the same time. Corey Stoll, who is mostly known for his excellent performance in Netflix’s House of Cards, is so captivating to watch that you become naturally drawn to his every move. All in all, the cast elevates this movie into welcoming terrority.

 Non-Stop is one hell of a ride that offers more than just a bag of peanuts and a can of coke. It is always fun, always thrilling, and always one step ahead of its audience. With Liam Neeson guiding the way, the first good action thriller of the year has definitely arrived.

The cast includes: Liam Neeson (Taken 2), Juliane Moore (Don Jon), Scoot McNairy (Killing Them Softly), Michelle Dockery (Hanna), and Corey Stoll (House of Cards). It was written by John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, and Ryan Engle. It was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown).

3 out of 4 stars.

-By Louie Coruzzolo

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