Liam Neeson has become a sturdy fixture in the action movie genre. You’d be hard pressed to find him in a movie without a gun hunting down terrorist these past few years, however, Neeson has finally hit a bump with the high-flying thriller, “Non-Stop.”
Neeson plays U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks, a tarnished man haunted by a dim past of alcoholism and depression. During what seems like a routine flight, Marks receives a text message on his cell phone from a mysterious blackmailer onboard who’s threatening to kill a passenger every minute until he receives a $150 million. As Marks runs out of time, he turns the plane upside down in hopes of uncovering the person behind the threat.
“Non-Stop” is a claustrophobic plane ride where the characters have to do all of the heavy-lifting, but not everyone pulls their own weight except Neeson – who relies on his commanding presence to carry the film. The characters have the substance you would expect in most fast-paced films, but they are just devices used to set the audience up the next surprise instead of adding more honest elements to the panicked passengers.
It’s hard to find any real sense of panic in the film, and the pacing is the other half of that problem. A slow build up is used to create the story, and then there is a burst of sensible narrative at the end to bring the story full circle.
The plot uncoils in consistent framework hoping to keep audience guessing, but it hardly succeeds and builds into more of an unsurprising scheme with a faint pulse of excitement. “Non-Stop” took a shot at a very eccentric idea, but it missed entirely.
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