posted on February 28, 2014 08:32
Do you remember when Liam Neeson was a hardcore badass in 2008’s Taken? Me too. Remember how he, and Hollywood, thought he was now a bona fide badass and we got the ill-fated Unknown, Wrath of the Titans, Battleship, and the lackluster Taken 2? Me too. Apparently, that hasn’t worn off yet, and we now have the latest attempt to capture that lightning in the bottle: Non-Stop.
Non-Stop opens with US Air Marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) mixing a little alcohol into his coffee. He then makes his way through the terminal to his flight. During this time, we meet many potential “bad guys” that could be on this flight. Once in the air, Marks receives a text informing him that a person on the plane will die every twenty minutes unless $150 million gets wired into their bank account. So, twenty minutes later, the first body falls. Then, after twenty more, the second one drops. Now, TSA believes Marks, but the account he gave them to deposit the money, is his own. So, Marks, with the help of a few passengers and crew that he kind of trusts, must find this “virtual hijacker” to clear his name.
The writing crew of John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, and Ryan Engle put together quite an intriguing story. They show that they understand what the term “red herring” means, as pretty much every passenger and crew member is a suspect at some time. This does get tiresome, but they are on a plan over the Atlantic Ocean, so I will give it a pass. They crafted a few nice twists that, if you turn your brain off as I did, are enjoyable.
Despite this, Non-Stop fails. The first act moves too slow. We plod along getting overly long shots of each potential terrorist. When the action finally starts in the second act, the movie moves at a decent pace, and the plot gets nice and twisty. Sadly, when the final act hits, Juame Collet-Serra’s directing fails. It becomes a bad rendition of an eighties action movie. This is also the only part of the plot I hated. SPOILER: It is all about 9-11. This simple plot point is supposed to help us relate to the villain, but honestly, it caused me to disconnect further from the film.
This is the second collaboration between Neeson and Collet-Serra, with Unknown being their first. Non-Stop is the better of the two, but that is not saying much. They have a third one in the works. Yikes. Non-Stop falls into the doldrums of mediocrity. It will be forgotten and in the Bargain Bin at Wal-Mart by year’s end. Renting Passenger 57 or even Snakes on a Plane would be better use of your time and money.