Mania Grade: B-
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- Rated: PG-13
- Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery
- Written By: John W. Richardson, Chris Roach
- Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra
- Studio: Universal Home Entertainment
- Original Year of Release: 2014
- Special Features: See Below
Non-Stop: Blu-ray Review
High Altitude Who-Done-It
By Tim Janson
June 02, 2014
Liam Neeson in “Non-Stop”
© Universal Studios
During one of the blu-ray extras Non-Stop Director Jaume Collet-Serra states that he wasn’t just trying to make “Taken” on a plane, referring to Neeson’s 2008 action film. Very true…instead Non-Stop plays more like Neeson’s 2011 action thriller “Unknown” aboard a plane with dashes of old 1940s-style who-done-it mysteries.
Neeson is Bill Marks, an alcoholic Federal Air Marshal who is on duty aboard a flight from New York to London. Marks is arguing with someone, presumably his boss, on the phone as the film opens. Nothing is further explained about this and it becomes merely a plot contrivance to setup Marks as a disgruntled employee later on. On board he sits next to Jen Summers (Moore) and they are having a mundane conversation about air travel until he receives text messages on his secure phone stating that someone on the plane will die every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred into a specific bank account.
Marks meets secretly with Jack Hammond, another Air Marshal on board, but when Hammond is found to be smuggling cocaine it leads to an altercation and Hammond being killed by Marks…exactly at the 20 minute mark. Marks works with the flight crew to try and identify the texter but when the next 20 minute period ends, the airplane’s Captain dies suddenly, apparently poisoned.
As Marks becomes more anxious and stressed the passengers and even his superiors begin to suspect that he is the one hi-jacking the plane, especially when the bank account turns out to be in his name. A steady stream of red herrings is paraded before us for the next hour as we try to figure out who is behind the murders. Unfortunately why they are doing it and framing Marks isn’t nearly as interesting as how they are doing it. The clever angle of how they did it is tempered by the thoroughly lame why. While it doesn’t completely derail the film there are definitely a couple of wheels off the track as we careen around the corner.
It’s a good thing that Marks is persistent as he is because his superiors couldn’t handle security on a kid’s field trip. It takes Neeson to be the glue that holds it all together and this is the type of film in which he excels. His combination of high-strung bravado always seems to work. Because of its close confines Non-Stop features some inventive fight scenes including one inside the tight squeezed area of an airplane bathroom, and another between several men in the small kitchen area. These help to take the edge off the incomprehensible and implausible final quarter of the film. Not Neeson’s best film but at least it’s not Battleship.
Non-Stop Action (5:14) – This short featurette takes a look at the film’s action and stunt sequences including the fight in the bathroom.
Suspense at 40,000 Feet (7:45) – Examines the mystery aspect of the film and making a modern day who-done-it movie.