In review: “Non-Stop”

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In recent years Liam Neeson has been known for a series of one-man action vehicles where the circumstances involve him against impossible odds.

Whether in search of his stolen identity in Unknown or against a pack of wild Alaskan wolves in The Grey, both films worked upon Neeson’s ability to captivate audiences as a solo action hero who could conquer both man and nature. As a result of the success of these films, Hollywood has predictably given us yet another feature of a similar nature called Non-Stop.

The films narrative revolves around Bills Marks (played by Neeson), who is an air marshal aboard a plane that is thrust into a transatlantic thrill ride when he receives an anonymous text message from an individual who claims that they will kill someone on the plane every twenty minutes unless $150 million is transferred into a secure off-shore account. Sounds familiar right?

However, throw in a solid supporting cast of Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Corey Stoll (House of Cards), and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) and the film as a whole begins to seem more appealing.

As a result, I had high hopes for Non-Stop to capitalize on its claustrophobic premise and well-rounded cast, but unfortunately it managed to muddle its chances of being a better film with some nonsensical plot points and a climax that is so implausible that it sacrifices the tense narrative foundation that was built before it.

As expected in Non-Stop, Liam Neeson is once again the dark, brooding, and gruff man with a set of strict moral guidelines that influence him in his very niche vocation.

Similar to The Grey, he works largely alone and is a man consumed by his own thoughts. This character type has become common amongst some of Hollywood’s aging action stars, especially with respect to Tom Cruise (Jack Reacher), Bruce Willis (A Good Day to Die Hard), and most recently Kevin Costner in 3 Days to Kill.

Furthermore, through the steady release of films that depict these 50-somethings kicking butt, it has become evident that there is a consistent market for audiences that want to see middle-aged men taking matters into their own hands.

Nevertheless, the predominant portion of these movies lack substance, character development, and anything remotely appreciable besides a few good set action pieces.

If you’re looking for two hours of easy viewing on a Sunday afternoon with some high altitude thrills and yet another fan favourite performance from Liam Neeson, then Non-Stop is the film for you.

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