Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review 249: "Non-Stop"

The hijacking was just the beginning.
No, him in a car was the beginning, silly!

Very slight spoiler warning!

Stakes on a Plane

      Non-Stop is a 2014 action movie, the latest in a long line of Liam Neeson Taken cash-ins. This latest one is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) and written by John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach and Ryan Engle, all essentially first-time writers. It follows Liam Neeson (Liam Neeson), a US air marshall and alcoholic, finds himself challenged by an unknown texter, who threatens to kill someone on his flight every 20 minutes unless they're paid 150 million dollars. Teaming up with a fellow passenger (Julianne Moore), a pair of flight attendants (Michelle Dockery and Lupita Nyong'o), a teacher (Scoot McNairy), an NYPD officer (Corey Stoll), a doctor (Omar Metwally) and a programmer (Nate Parker), Neeson attempts to stop the kill before the flight is... killed off?

Gary Oldman?!?
Killer Suspense

      At this point, review the newest Liam Neeson action movie feels kinda useless, along the lines of reviewing the next two upcoming Hunger Games films. Most people have seemed to have made up their minds about action hero Neeson and those who aren't interested probably can't be swayed into seeing it, nor can those who want to see it be swayed out. Non-Stop is exactly the type of movie you'd expect it to be. And while that makes it a solid action thriller, it disappointingly wastes a solid second act. The film is a bit slow on arrival, with the director making some painfully drawn out techniques, including an awful opening scene of Neeson drinking in his car. But the second act of Neeson hunting the killer is honestly suspenseful. Neeson is great as usual and seeing the passengers start to get suspicious of him made for some great tension.

Sky Fall

      The problem is that the movie pretty much fall apart in it's third act. As me and my friends wondered what the actually reveal would be, we were unhappy to discover that the film's reveal of the killer was the most obvious one of all. Backed by one of the lamest explanations ever and the film effectively kills all the suspense it had gained in the last hour. Even worse, the film falls even further into the generic category when in ends with yet another Neeson shootout. As confined to the tight corners of the plane, it's not a very good one either. And it's some ludicrously impossible flying skills, complete losses all goodwill it had earned up before the credits even roll. It's been a while since I've seen a film fall aparts so quickly, but Non-Stop goes from pretty damn good to stupidly forgettable in a mere 20 minutes.

"Gotta pose for the poster!"
The Verdict

      Non-Stop has a good thing going, for a little while anyway. Neeson is still a capable action star and the film is honestly suspenseful for most of it's runtime. However, the very solid second act is undercut by an awfully slow beginning and embarrassingly dumb third act, which takes the film's suspense and turns it into an implausible action finale. Sigh, it was good while it lasted. Non-Stop gets 4 stars out of 6.

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