I have to admit there are two things I love when it comes to guilty pleasures and the movies. One is Liam Neeson and the other is anything involving somehow getting stuck on an airplane. I’ve always admired Liam Neeson’s acting even before he went through this career renaissance, starting with the movie Taken, as an action film star who manages to make sense of one of the amazingly complex missions while still managing to somehow save the day. Almost every film he’s been in since has followed the same path: his character is established with having issues, such as estranged from the family or dealing with separation or loss or both; he’s been given insurmountable odds in the predicament he’s in; in order to get out of said predicament he manages to get more creative in a twenty-four hour span than you would manage to make sense of in a lifetime; and the end climax results in a knock-em sock-em explosion of events that no human being can survive expect that of a character played Mr. Liam Neeson himself. In his latest movie Non-Stop, Liam Neeson’s character of Bill Marks goes through all of the aforementioned challenges and then some. I also happen to love airplane movies because of their intimate spaces con provide relatable conditions in which we hope we won’t have to deal with in our worst travel nightmares. So why not be entertained for two hours by a situation that I would never want to be in versus a situation so realistic on the ground that may hit a little too close to home? Who cares if it’s Wesley Snipes in Passenger 57 or Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2, I know I’m gong to be entertained on how our antagonist is going to get out plight thirty-thousand feet in the air. Hell, I even watch the 1970’s classic film Airport whenever it’s on TMC knowing full well Dean Martin’s gonna get that bomb damaged plane down safely. And so I thought Liam Neeson’s saving the day on a plane, now they’ve piqued my interest.
Stop Reading if you don’t want to know the film’s plot…
Non-Stop was an action paced white-knuckle thrill ride that takes aboard a flight from New York to London, where Neesom’s character Bill Marks, who serves as the plane’s air marshal suffers from both alcoholism and a deceased child. But isn’t that the besides the point, as with every Liam Neeson movie of late, we don’t care about his personal issues. It serves no real plot purpose, except for a grandstanding speech in which Neesom declares beyond shadow of a doubt he’s going to save the day no matter his personal issues. We watch because we only care about how he’s going to get out of this mess he’s gotten us into to. And this time around it’s a doozy. As Bill Marks boards the plane you meet a host of potentially nefarious characters from Jenn (played by Julianne Moore) the inquisitive but sensitive lady who manages to finagle a seat next to Marks while they’re both in business class to the loud mouthed passenger in coach (Corey Stoll). When they get to cruising altitude Marks starts to get texts (on perhaps the world’s most dated cell phone in 2014) that a passenger on the plane is going to die every 20 minutes unless 150 million dollars is deposited into a specific bank account. Within the next few minutes the action takes off from there. Without giving too much away, people do in fact start to die until the money is finally deposited. The problem is more suspicion (and convolution) is raised when Marks is suspected of being said terrorist wanting the money in addition to being the one threatening to take down the entire plane.
As the action packed sequences passes by, Marks suspects everyone from Moore’s character to Michelle Dockery’s chief flight attendant Nancy is suspected of being the terrorist. I think I would have lost it if Lady Mary was guilty in the end. (Spoiler: she’s not, and neither is Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o who serves in an all too brief cameo, I sure hope this is not where her career is headed after winning said Oscar®) But that’s what sets this film apart from many other Liam Neeson movie’s of year’s past is that you honestly you don’t know who you can trust. Everyone should be considered guilty until the credits roll! Granted this plotline of “everyone’s a suspect until we find out the truth” exactly mirrors that of the movie Flight Plan with Jodie Foster. But for some reason this plotting came off as fresh and intense, which is surprising considering the fact that every person introduced in the movie and plot point felt like a potential red herring. As I watched I got increasingly anxious, you start asking yourself gee I wonder if he’s should be considered a suspect, should so and so’s action be considered suspicious, are said suspects working together, is the terrorist even on board the plane? Because the movie keeps you guessing, this allows you to suspend disbelief in the movie’s eventual climax, in which a bomb literally goes off onboard, all while Marks manages to still take care of business and of course save the day!
Non-Stop was a solid action-paced movie that has more twists and turns that borderline incredulity. But film’s preposterousness can be ignored solely for the edge of your seat sequences. The only character I truly cared for was (here’s a big surprise) Liam Neeson’s Bill Marks. Although, he eventually annoyed me in the end as well. I mean no human being can be that lucky and right all the time? I was clearly more invested in the actors playing the characters versus the characters themselves. I was definitely surprised by the ending but in end I was still rolling my eyes. Non-Stop’s storylines don’t provide for appointment movie watching, you could miss this movie and not miss anything. It’s a solid date night that’s geared towards the guys more than the female interest. But it’s still a fun action ride that’s perfect for Netflix or Amazon rental and definitely worth a watch on FX or TBS while you’re ironing or folding laundry. And trust me this one will be on just like Neesom’s other movies such as Taken, Taken 2 and Unknown always seem to be on. There’s nothing wrong with that because it’s always a good time waster, just make sure you don’t see it while on your next long distance flight. I couldn’t imagine would it would be like to watch this movie on an actual airplane!