SYNOPSIS: Global action star Liam Neeson stars in Non-Stop, a suspense thriller played out at 40,000 feet in the air. During a transatlantic flight from New York City to London, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the airline to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every 20 minutes. The film reunites Neeson with Unknown director Jaume Collet-Serra and producer Joel Silver, and co-stars Golden Globe Award winner Julianne Moore.
REVIEW: A nicely done, whodunit! Thanks to talented Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, 2011), this film is well-made, action-packed and an extremely tense action flick. Can anyone say “Air Force One, part 2?” If you have seen the aforementioned “Air Force One” or “Clear and Present Danger,” at any point in time, then these would be a good measure as to whether or not one would enjoy this latest Liam Neeson outing. Yes, that’s my simple take on it even though it’s a bit unfair to compare the three flicks…mostly because those two Harrison Ford flicks are arguably some of the best airplane hijacking movies of all time.
So what we have here is basically every trick in the “handbook of plane-hijacking” is thrown at audiences, along with some additional interesting twists and turns. There are several notable scenes: One being the hand-to-hand combat sequence in one of the airplane lavatories, which is shot from multiple angles and the other being the contrasts in between scenes of passengers calmly sleeping, while the camera periodically alternates between crazy behind-the-scenes scuffles. What’s more is that the narrative successfully keeps audiences guessing about who the perpetrator really is. Could it be a certain bald passenger in Economy Class (Corey Stroll - House of Cards TV series) who keeps thumbing his phone suspiciously? Or the cute flight attendant Nancy (Michelle Dockery - Anna Karenina, 2012) or the passenger with the bushy beard, religious skull-cap and shifty eyes? At one point we even begin to wonder if Neeson’s character, “Marks” himself is unhinged. Those are some of the questions we ponder throughout the hundred and six minute runtime. On the other hand and unfortunately, we witness Oscar nominee and “12 Years A Slave's” Lupita Nyong'o role in this flick as simply restricted to a sideshow of minimal proportions. For such a huge talent, her character seems relegated to simply having one-liners periodically with no real substance. As a matter of fact, any Hollywood stand-in could have played her part without having any previous acting experience. It would have been nice to have seen her role expanded in to the front and center of the action thrills.
Nevertheless, this is a journey of pure intensity and this is Neeson's vehicle - or shall we say plane ride - all the way. If there's a film that is pretty much true to its name, then this one is it. Simply being another variation on the classic theme of a plane hijacking, this flick is relentless with not a wasted second. Four and a half stars would be a fair assessment here and I certainly do recommend it for theater viewing. Dvd rental or pay-per-view will certainly not do this thrill ride any justice.
By Movi-Man Stan
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