- RatedPG13 /GenreAction, Thriller
Depending on your taste, Liam Neeson's second act of his career is either the most interesting or the most boring. After a sterling career as a serious thespian that culminated in his iconic role as Oskar Schindler in 1993’s ‘Schindler’s List’, Neeson seems to have accidentally reinvented himself as action hero while in his late 50s.
Now 61, his latest action vehicle ‘Non-Stop’ has him teaming up again with Jaume Collet-Serra, the director of 2011's action flick ‘Unknown’.
In ‘Non-Stop’, Neeson plays US Air Marshal Bill Marks. While he is on a transatlantic flight from New York to London, he starts receiving cryptic text messages on a secure phone network, from someone who seems to be a fellow passenger.
These messages eventually become threats, with a passenger on board targeted to be killed every 20 minutes, unless US$150 million is transferred into a bank account.
When the account is discovered to be under Bill’s name, the plane’s crew and passengers start to suspect that the US Marshal is the hijacker himself.
A SHADOW OF PAST ACTION FLICKS
One can only describe the plot of ‘Non-Stop’ as the bastard child of ‘Taken’, ‘Snakes On A Plane’, ‘Air Force One’ and ‘Speed’, if they managed to merge together like the ‘Voltron’ of action movies.
It is truly a ridiculous creation: a twisted product starring the gravitas of Neeson, the camp and airborne antics of ‘Snakes’ and ‘Air Force One’ along with the sheer thrill of ‘Speed’. The premise is really quite laughable and you can certainly poke many holes in the plot if you choose to do so.
However, if you choose to run along with it, you will still be highly entertained.
KEEPS YOU GUESSING
Collet-Serra helms the flick like a classic “whodunit” movie with a high-tech twist for the modern world. Together with Bill, you start to wonder if the baddie is the pilot, one of the stewardesses or even a harmless looking woman played by Julianne Moore.
Viewers will find their loyalties and suspicions constantly shifting. Collet-Serra executes this rather brilliantly, by keeping the pacing of the movie brisk.
The action alternates between the piercing beeps of Bill’s phone and the many swerves that he encounters as he tries in vain to find out who is pulling the strings on the plane as passengers are being killed.
It is quite remarkable how the silent exchange of text messages on screen can send the most tingling of shivers down one's spine. From start to finish, this movie is an edge-of-the-seat thriller.
NEESON MAKES IT WORTHWHILE
The glue that holds the entire movie together is Neeson, as he channels his action hero persona cultivated from movies such as ‘Taken’ and ‘The Grey’, complete with furrowed brow and swigs of the bottle that prove to be the best storytellers on hand.
Coupled with his intimidating presence and his touch of sometimes unintended humour, Neeson is a joy to watch and his performance alone is worth the ticket price.
Apart from that, ‘Non-Stop’ suffers from many things – it feels a little disposable because the plot is almost completely implausible. Even the eventual revelation of why the hijacking happened is quite absurd.
Hang on tight anyway, because there is much turbulence onboard to keep you wide awake.