Whether it’s rescuing kidnapped daughters in Paris or punching wolves in the middle of nowhere, screenwriters have been diligently coming up with new reasons for Liam Neeson to clench his fists in a succession of action movies and thrillers. Along with Jason Statham, Neeson’s become a true 21st century action hero, in the sense that he assumes different names in each film, but really, we all know he’s good old Liam Neeson.
In Non-Stop, he plays Bill Marks, a depressive United States air marshal who drinks and smokes a lot. During a routine overnight flight from New York to London, he begins to receive a series of menacing texts from an anonymous passenger. “Are you ready to do your duty?” asks one. Another could easily be the strap line for every Neeson action thriller recently made: “How far would you go to save these people?”
With the plane cruising over the mid-Atlantic, Marks has the unenviable task of either doing as the criminal asks – that is, convince his superiors to hand over $150m before a passenger is killed – or trying to stop them before it’s too late
The supporting cast includes Julianne Moore as Marks’ radiant single-serving friend, Linus Roache as a co-pilot, Anson Mount as a fellow air marshal, 12 Years A Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o as a hostess, and Monsters’ Scoot McNairy as one of several nervy passengers.
The story is kept moving at a good pace, with potentially boring SMS exchanges splashed up on the screen even feature a cracked screen effect.
Although the script is hardly award-winning material and some of the dialogue is wince inducing on the nose it’s entertaining without drifting into Snakes On A Plane like parody.
Non-Stop is more about suspense than action. It touches on a nerve still raw even 13 years after the tragic events of 9-11; the pressure-cooker sense of unease and distrust that permeates air port security line-ups and continues into every flight – a repressed paranoia that only needs a gentle nudge to take over.
Non-Stop uses these fears, but does so in a fun thriller format where both writer and director remind us that it’s okay to have fun – a scene featuring the memorable line “Free international travel!” is a particularly enjoyable one.
Non-Stop isn’t a classic thriller, But it is a lot of fun. But really, the hero of the piece is Neeson. Like a good commercial pilot, he brings Non-Stop into land with charisma, cool assurance and more than a touch of class.
So out of a possible five stars, Non Stop earns:
So its official .. There isn’t a single situation Liam Neeson cant punch in the face!
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