Non-Stop

nonstop-poster

Release: Friday, February 28, 2014

[Theater]

In this episode, Liam’s on a mission to make sure one hundred and fifty million doll-hairs are transferred into the proper account otherwise. . . . .well, you can probably guess what the otherwise is.

This is another one of those instances where you can glean everything you need to know about the film — for the better or for the worse — just by taking a quick look at the poster. Does it catch your eye? No? Well then enjoy spending your time watching the Son of God movie this weekend, what looks to be a made-for-TV film that already seems to be faring much worse than this action-thriller.

Needless to say, this weekend isn’t exactly jam-packed with high-quality releases. Priorities are elsewhere, as are the great actors and actresses. Well, with the exception of a pair found in Non-Stop, a thriller about a packed flight that gets hijacked, terrorized and perhaps scariest of all, seriously Liam Neeson-ed.

Neeson and Julianne Moore together bring much-needed gravitas to a story that shoots first and answers questions later. But whereas the ‘shooting’ and suspense-building aspects are quite compelling, director Jaume Collet-Serra — and I love this — who is known for Unknown, as well as Orphan, doesn’t really know how to provide logical, inventive solutions to what is admittedly an intriguing puzzle, a veritable whodunnit at 35,000 feet.

Non-Stop-Liam-Neeson

When Bill Marks (Neeson), an experienced albeit troubled air marshal receives a series of threats via text message on a secure network on his 6-plus-hour flight to London, his blood boils. Now, instead of getting to join the Mile High Club with his cute seat-mate Jen (Moore), he has to jump into action to save the entire plane full of “innocent” passengers from impending doom. God, work is such a pain in the ass.

It’s a film in which anyone and everyone can and does become a suspect — most importantly, Bill Marks himself. It’s a film where trailers undersell the production and in this particular case, that’s a very good thing. Attention spans are likely to be held far longer than what the previews might suggest due to some surprising twists and turns throughout.

Unfortunately, this plane ride is rigged with one twist too many, and it’s the major one that really does some damage. As one expects from the Liam Neeson action vehicle, a fair amount of liberties are bound to be taken. To that end, Non-Stop falls short of the impressive 2008 thriller Taken, a movie where Neeson is given the green light to single-handedly slaughter half of Western Europe. It falls quite short of the bodycount of that film for sure, but surprisingly the implications of both situations are almost on par with one another, with Taken bearing only a slight advantage in that department as well. However, and to reiterate, the last twenty minutes of this pulse-pounder threaten to tear apart the film with some heavy-handed (and slightly awkwardly placed) political points and a discreditable reveal.

This isn’t one that you can easily separate from many time-conscious, white-knuckle thrill-rides but it does just enough to leave a somewhat lasting impression. It’ll be good for audiences who find themselves wanting some excitement in the earlygoing of 2014, but needless to say it’s going to be far better for Mr. Neeson’s wallet.

Now, who wants some frequent flyer mileage after seeing this? I’m giving all of mine away because I am sure as Neeson never stepping foot on an airplane again. I don’t care how friendly the flight attendants want to be with me. Well. . . .

Score05

Recommendation: Fan of Liam Neeson? Appreciate taut suspenseful films that don’t drain your patience completely? Non-Stop delivers, despite the god-awful title. It is good at immersing the viewer in the experience of flying, so if you add any personal biases for or against traveling in a little metal tube at 500 miles an hour thousands of feet above the Earth’s surface, the experience only improves. This film was a nice surprise. Not great, but it will do.

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 106 mins.

Quoted: “I’m not hijacking this plane; I’m trying to save it!”

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