Movies: Non-Stop Review (or “When Did Liam Neeson Become The Ultimate Bad-Ass?”)

As a sub-genre of certain types of films, there’s something I’ve always enjoyed about plots that take place on a form of moving transport.

So it’s either a coincidence that I’ve enjoyed the likes of Strangers on a Train, Snakes on a Plane, Flight Plan, Air Force One, Red Eye and even that made-for-TV effort about some ninja monks on a train headed for Lourdes, or the claustrophobic nature of it adds to the appeal.

Either way, I was looking forward to seeing the latest movie of its kind, Non-Stop.

Non-Stop Review: What’s It About

A US Air Marshall is sent a text message on a transatlantic flight to London saying that unless $150m is wired into his account, someone on the plane will die every 20 minutes.

Naturally, the Air Marshall has to stop the culprit, but who is it?

As the tagline says, “146 Passengers, 146 Suspects”

Non-Stop Review: Who’s In It?

Non-Stop stars the former serious dramatic actor turned ultimate bad-ass, Liam Neeson as the inevitably flawed US Air Marshall.Non Stop

The rest of the cast hardly matters beyond that, does it?

Ok, it’s also got Julianne Moore as the age appropriate woman Neeson gets to have sex with after the end credits roll.

Non-Stop Review: How Highly Is It Rated?

Though it only gets a 55% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Non-Stop gets a creditable 7.6/10 on imdb from just short of 6,000 votes and reviewers seem to be giving it a solid 3 stars.

Non-Stop Review: Thoughts

This year I’ve gone to a fair few “Oscar-Worthy” films, like the dreary 12 Years A Slave, the empty Mandela and the overly long Wolf of Wall Street, and yet it’s the ones that will never win any awards – like Last Vegas – that I’ve enjoyed the most.

And you can add Non-Stop to that list now too.

I thought it was terrific; a simple and fun movie to watch.

It’s easy just to say that because of what it is – a relatively short, high energy popcorn flick starring Hollywood’s only convincing Action Hero – it’ll be enjoyable no matter what, but it was also pretty clever.

The mystery of who is sending Neeson the text messages about the deaths is not an easy one to solve, and – without spoiling it – the way the people keep getting killed off is also not what you’d expect.

So I was hooked all the way through and was kept guessing until the end.

And sure, there were plenty of clichés, like the way Neeson’s character is so typically “damaged”, and the way there just so happens to be a little girl travelling on her own who he must protect, but there’s nothing wrong with clichés if they aren’t done to the detriment of the plot.

Star of the show was obviously the leading man himself, and while I can’t quite put my finger on exactly when Liam Neeson transitioned into this hardcore tough guy bad-ass character, I love that he has. I can’t remember the last time he was in a film I didn’t enjoy.

The only criticism I would have of the whole thing was that when the culprit is revealed, his – or her (I want to keep you guessing) – reason for doing it seems more like a political statement from the writer/director than a creatively satisfying motive. It’s understandable, but underwhelming.

Non-Stop Review: Final Thoughts

So I’ve kept this review short, sweet and without too much depth.

And I think that nicely reflects the subject matter.

Non-Stop will never win any awards, and a couple of years from now it will largely be forgotten about, but the difference between it and the more “worthy” films that have come out this year is that in the future, you’ll stumble across this on TV and you’ll actually want to sit down and watch it again.

Well worth your time.

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