Neeson stands out from other airplane movie heroes

Jimmy Graner, "Jimmy G's Rock Reviews"
March 6, 2014

We can’t predict what will happen on an airplane. We wait nonchalantly while we travel from point-A to point-B, catching a movie, having a few drinks, or laying back and take a nap. However, the air-marshal, whose job is to protect and defeat any hostile acts aboard a flight, must be alert at all times. But when hostile threats appear on a cell phone, there’s not much one can do to protect the lives of innocent people at 30,000 feet in the sky.

Non-Stop directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Orphan, House of Wax) stars Liam Neeson, an air marshal by the name of Bill Marks, whose job is to protect the fellow passengers on board an international flight. Soon after takeoff, random text messages start appearing on his phone, alerting him that if $150 million dollars isn’t transferred into a private account, one person will die on board every twenty minutes. As Neeson realizes that the person sending the messages is on board, he alerts fellow crew members and instantly goes into Where’s Waldo-mode. After making the rash decision to kill his air marshal buddy on board with him that he supposedly thinks is involved, he soon realizes that the odds are not in his favor and everybody on board quickly becomes aware of just who Bill Marks really is.

We’ve all seen it before: a well-known character gets on a plane and things just don’t seem to go the right way like Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane), Harrison Ford (Air Force One) and Nicholas Cage (Con Air), all lead the way with bad misfortunes. Most recently though, Denzel Washington showed us the death defying stunts it takes to land an airplane in the film Flight. His character, as well as Neeson’s character bare similar traits; they’re both alcoholics. Although they both have completely different roles, the idea of stepping up and taking command in the case of an emergency is something all of us enjoy watching. The movie is suspenseful. Ever since Neeson took on the role of Bryan Mills in the Taken series, the idea of him taking down bad guys of any sort is entertaining alone. Every time a new character is introduced into the mix, you have no idea if he or she is part of the plot against Marks. Julianne Moore is one of those people. She is introduced into the mix right at the beginning along with Nate Parker. Every time the camera pans onto a different person and their interaction with Neeson, you instantly think in your mind, “Are they part of this scheme”? After second-guessing yourself over and over, your mind is blown when it’s revealed who the perpetrator actually is. The movie includes non-stop action mixed with non-stop thinking, so the title is certainly fit.

Although I believe the film succeeds, it flops in a few ways as well. A lot of on-screen text messages are shown, cutting off dialogue that could be replaced with Neeson’s powerful voice. Numerous times exist also when embarrassing and awkward expression occurs. Yes, it’s good to have happy thoughts during a film, but plan them out more perfectly without squeezing them in unexpectedly. A couple flubs here and there, it still makes for a good thriller. Whether you like Liam Neeson, or just enjoy a suspenseful storyline, Non-Stop will have you on two first class seats into suspense.

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