Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) cuts a pitiable figure: three-day stubble, disheveled apparel, boozy stink-breath. He draws plenty of wary eyes as he walks through the airport to catch a flight to the U.K., but not from the TSA agents, who barely give him a glance. That’s because this towering sad sack is a federal air marshal, the one assigned to guard the plane. You surely know where this delightfully trashy thriller is headed, and director Jaume Collet-Serra, who previously worked with Neeson on the amnesiac Euro-thriller Unknown (2011), doesn’t waste time with the getting-to-know-yous. No sooner has Marks settled beside inquisitive seatmate Jen (Julianne Moore, having a blast) than he gets a series of texts from a mystery terrorist who promises to kill a passenger every 20 minutes until they receive $150 million.
The setup is dynamite and the follow-through entertainingly dumb, as long as the film keeps the unseen villain and his/her motivations in the dark. It’s a pleasure to watch Neeson work an alcohol-addled variation on the imposing asskicker he’s cultivated since 2008’s Taken. Marks has a very particular set of skills that leaves plenty of necks and noses broken, but he also has a hard-luck backstory (confessed in a grin-inducing scene that manages to be both silly and sublime), giving him just the right amount of gravitas.
Collet-Serra fills the souls-on-board manifest with a variety of eclectic faces—everyone from 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o to increasingly ubiquitous character actor Corey Stoll. He also makes terrific use of his set, deftly rendering close-quarters smackdowns and several expertly executed one-shots. Would that the climax lived up to the tension-filled first two thirds. Let’s just say that Non-Stop reaches for some pointed post-9/11 political commentary that almost entirely exceeds its grasp. Total brainlessness, in this case, would have been a virtue.
Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich
|Release date:||Friday February 28 2014|
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||John W Richardson, Christopher Roach|
Too bad to see a great actor like Liam Neeson waste his talent and time in such a mediocre movie. The writing is so bad as to be insulting, and the whole thing is put together in such an unexciting, boring and perfunctory way that you have to wonder who would pay 13 o more bucks to see something that doesn't remotely approach the craft and entertainment value of any episode in the worst, lamest tv series out there. The filmmakers behind this piece of pallid, uninteresting hackwork, prove themselves to be lucky to be employed. It is not that this is bad, it is that is so profoundly mediocre that you don't really see the point on why this movie was made or who wants to pay money and waste time watching it when there's so much good stuff out there on cable, network tv o even netflix. Stay at home and watch House of Cards, or any other series that is light years ahead of this dreck.