Premise: Liam Neeson is an air marshal, and also an alcoholic, who has a daughter, and is tired of doing his job. All of this is revealed in the first 45 seconds of the movie; as he sits in his car, takes a swig of whiskey, touches a picture of his daughter, and acts morose about going into work. *That’s* how you character develop shit, son! Anyway, someone from aboard the international overnight flight accesses Neeson’s restricted cell phone line, and starts texting him threats that one person on the plane will die every twenty minutes until he delivers $150 million to a bank account. This is followed by NON-STOP UH-OHS.
-I’d say Liam Neeson is hitting just about as many times as he’s missing with the gruff angry guy surviving his way out of any paper bag presented schtick. For every bland looking film, he makes a mindlessly entertaining one. I enjoyed him beating up wolves in that other movie, and ya know what, I enjoyed him beating up people on an airplane, too. I mean, I guess you can cast someone (anyone?) else that looks tough in the same role, but Neeson just kind of has a natural badassness to him that lends well to dumb situations like this one.
-I guess I wasn’t bored at any point. It keeps the new problems coming at a brisk pace. And then the mystery is solved and it turns into some comically nonsensical drivel. There’s a moment during the climactic fight when Non-Stop turns into an awesome 1990’s Demolition Man-esk action movie, as two characters prepare to have a knife fight on an exploding, crashing plane. It was pretty funny to watch unfold.
-As you may notice now, that flight attendant from the movie looks like Oscar-winner-from-three-days-ago Lupita Nyong’o… Why yes… yes it is.
-Adequate way of displaying a ton of text messages to the audience without having to keep cutting back to shots of the phone itself.
-This is one of those movies that has to wrap every single little thing up in a nice little bow. Every character that didn’t die through the course of the film is given one-to-five seconds of camera time in the last scene just to pointlessly say “HeRe’S wHaT HAPPeneD 2 THISSSSSS GuY! IsN’T thAT GREAT?!” Audience member: “But what about the little girl’s dad? Will she meet up with her dad?????? PLEASE TELL ME. I NEED TO KNOW. I’M EMPTY INSIDE WITHOUT THIS INFORMATION.” Screenwriter: “HeYYY liTTle gIRL, yOuR DAd iz on da PhoNE, YaaaaAAAYYY!”
-Makes every single passenger and crew member (with a line of dialogue) look like the bad guy, for at least a minute or two. I don’t know, most innocent people don’t do the kind of suspicious crap that everyone does in this movie for no reason. I guess it’s what keeps the movie going, but it’s sort of (definitely) stupid.
-The final bad guy reveal doesn’t even correspond with the rest of the movie. It’s almost like a completely newly introduced element.
-Missed opportunity to homage one of the greatest movies of all time, by having Neeson yell “Get off my plane!”
Final Thoughts: I haven’t been to a suspense thriller like this in a while, and I do enjoy the simple, completely unheavy-handed way that Non-Stop let’s the story unfold. It’s a mystery, but it’s not a smart mystery. And frankly, if I’m watching a 2014 Liam Neeson action movie, I don’t really need it to be smart. *If* I had to do one of those “IT’S THIS MEETS THIS!” kind of comparisons, Non-Stop is kind of like the mystery of Source Code meets the enjoyable cliché stupidity of White House Down. I’d probably watch this movie in the background again on HBO. It’s endearingly generic.
6.5 out of 10