Everyone is suspect.
Liam Neeson, the king of middle-aged action stars, is such a powerful force onscreen that any action he takes– whether snapping a neck, or texting a stranger— comes with an extra level of gravitas. After all, this is the same man who’s embedded into our popular culture as Jedi Qui-Gon Jin, the heroic Oskar Schindler, Batman’s nefarious trainer Rha’s A Ghul, Hannibal of the A-Team, Jean Valjean, Zeus, and Aslan the Lion.
Non-Stop finds Neeson in the role of Air Marshall Bill Marks, an alcoholic screw-up who’s past continues to haunt him. But when he receives an anonymous text message from someone on board threatening to kill a passenger every 20 minutes, he goes into full Chuck-Norris-mode, stopping at nothing to save the lives of everyone on the flight.
To be honest, I quite enjoyed Non-Stop— even more so than other recent Neeson action-outings like Taken and Unknown. If some particularly cheeseball moments hadn’t cropped up towards the end of the film, this would almost have been a near-perfect action thriller. Non-Stop is tense, suspenseful, and wildly entertaining. The mysterious whodunnit nature of the story drives it throughout, as Neeson and the other passengers on board continue to try and piece together the puzzle before its too late.
It’s mostly what you expect with a good action-mystery: plenty of suspects, increasingly tense moments, and lots of crazy fun. Even though the third act squanders some of the setup with some borderline-ridiculous revelations and interactions, Non-Stop remains entertaining throughout and delivers an excitingly solid story.
+ Great ensemble cast to give life and color to this story
+ Liam Neeson was made for these types of roles
+ Captivating throughout
+ The mystery is enthralling, and keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way through
– The third act features some questionable storytelling-turns, bordering on unbelievable
– Dialogue in the final stretch gets a little too cutesy
Liam Neeson and co. deliver a wild, fun, energetic, suspenseful thrillride in the form of Non-Stop. Though I think it had the potential to be a modern cinematic classic (if it weren’t for some cheesy plotlines and dialogue towards the end), Non-Stop remains a solid movie that’s a whole bunch of dumb fun.
Non-Stop is rated PG-13 for “action violence and drug references.” There are some intense fight sequences, a small amount of language, and one character is revealed to be involved in transferring illegal drugs into the country.
© Matt Tory, 2014.