Liam Neeson Badassery: Plane Edition
A Film Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
It’s fairly impressive that Liam Neeson has made himself an action hero at his age and a large part of that is due to him actually being very good at this sort of thing. Non-Stop is basically an action flick on an airplane where it seems as if Neeson himself is behind the potential hijacking of the flight. It’s a nice twist that generally works if lends itself to become a bit average by the film’s end. This is a solid action flick that you will walk away satisfied from, even if you are likely to basically forget it by the time you walk out of the theater and or turn your television off.
The basic premise takes a bit of a spin on the ticking bomb concept. Someone hacks into the network that only the air marshall can access and threatens Neeson that unless $150 million is wired to a bank account, someone will die every twenty minutes. It’s a bit over-the-top and a bit unnecessary, but it does add a nice pacing to the entire event that keeps the entire enterprise running briskly. The less plausible twist that’s unfortunately necessary for the story to continue running is him being framed. It’s nice for the story to not constantly just spin it as a “who dunnit?” and implicate our obvious protagonist as the potential hijacker. The problem is that that would either involve him having an accomplice or sending text messages to himself from a secret device and it’s not really, ever explained.
But ultimately, who cares? This movie is such a blast for the first two acts and the sense of claustrophobia on the plane is executed really, really well. Thematically the movie does a fantastic job of avoiding obvious villain casting so there’s a genuine suspense as to what actually is the messenger. The best act that’s executed in this film is the fight in the airplane restroom. It’s jaw-dropping that they were able to film anything at all in such an enclosed space, let alone one so, so confined. Great stuff there.
The supporting cast is full of great, familiar faces whom I assume showed up to collect a paycheck because they don’t get nuance and development here, let alone a decent amount of time. Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar winner for Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, is here, joined by Julianne Moore (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Corey Stoll (House of Cards), and Shea Wigham (Boardwalk Empire), among others. Out of those actors, Moore and Dockery by far get the most to do. It’s a logical move in the sense of that they’re amongst the only people who actually believe that Marks is innocent. And then the explanations at the end arrive to culminate in the third act and it loses that propulsive craziness that is so exciting and catchy. It’s a bit fuzzy and it’s executed as a big, villain giving the speech that’s meant to be quite serious and it doesn’t work. By the time the credits roll around, I kind of left with the feeling that I had a lot of fun and I would watch it again as a popcorn, house party movie. You could do a lot worse but this is worth a watch.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Produced by: Joel Silver, Alex Heineman, Steve Richards, Andrew Rona
Screenplay by: John W. Richardson, Chris Roach, Ryan Engle
Story by: John W. Richardson, Chris Roach
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Lupita Nyong’o, Nate Parker, Jason Butler Harner, Anson Mount
Music: John Ottman
Cinematography: Flavio Martínez Labiano
Editing: Jim May
Production Company: StudioCanal, Silver Pictures, Anton Capital Entertainment
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Running Time: 106 minutes
Release Dates: January 27, 2014 (Paris), February 26, 2014 (France), February 28, 2014 (United States)
Image Courtesy: Rant About Film