Movie Review: Non-Stop (2014)

Liam Neeson as Bill Marks in Non-Stop 2014 movies still

Cop, passengers, unidentified bad guys – ‘Non-Stop’ is old-skool fun dragged down by cliches and flaws

Liam Neeson is back in a new action thriller, this time doing more texting than iconic calls. He plays a U.S. Federal Air Marshal named Bill Marks, who’s basically a flight police whose job is to quietly serve and protect plane passengers and ensure that they land safely. One day he receives a text message via a restricted network on mobile phone threatening to kill a passenger every 20 minutes until $150 million is transferred to a bank account with his own name.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t bothered to watch Taken, but although Non-Stop is filled with overused cliches and plot holes (click ‘Show Spoiler’ below to view those I can recall), I find it quite a fun ride in overall with a purpose. It’s definitely one of those guilty pleasures of mine for this year. This (sort-of) plane hijack action thriller does very well at engaging the audience to play the usual guessing game of the genre – who the villain is among the passengers, how is this all happening, what would I do if I was in this situation, what’s gonna happen next, etc. While some of it may be obvious and flawed, it was still enjoyable. Immediately forgettable, but enjoyable. However, the ironic thing is that the film lacks of serious urgency, basically being the very opposite of its title. The director, writers and Liam Neeson’s performance are at fault.

  1. It is not explained why or how the villains are so knowledgeable and intelligent to a point that they could come up with such an almost precise plan while knowing exactly how Federal Air Marshals work. But some parts are just generally flawed, like how the heck they know Bill Marks would kill his colleague and how the heck the antagonist is able to place his phone (that he used to text Bill with the threats) onto the other passenger and also poisoning him in that brief moment while his hands are tied and being closely watched by Bill? And what if the communications on the plane are really shut down after the initial contact?
  2. When the media says Bill Marks is hijacking the plane, the passengers believe. And then just because Bill admits that he’s an alcoholic because he was a bad father to his dead daughter but not a bad guy, they immediately believe as well. How gullible the passengers are?
  3. Jen (Julianne Moore) plays around with the villain’s mobile phone, supposedly trying to guess his password to unlock the phone and the bomb’s countdown timer just miraculously appears on the screen, telling Bill that there’s a bomb on the plane. RIGHT… What fucking brand is that useless phone?
  4. The bomb is ticking with literally minutes left and the unidentified villain is still at large, and yet our hero still bothers to take some time to talk to a little girl who’s frightened hiding under a table (or something like that). ‘Cause what’s the rush right?

Non-Stop Liam Neeson meme movie still

What purpose could a movie like this possibly have, you may ask. Well without spoiling it for you, it has something to do with air safety after 9/11 and the media. Nonetheless, it raises some pretty crucial questions on flight precautions and procedures against terrorism but the typical Hollywood heroic ending sort of contradicted it a little – villain reveals everything, hero delivers punchline before kicking all asses, slow motion headshot (see poster), protagonist saves the day and gets the chick. Oh, sorry, is this still considered a spoiler today? My bad.

What I would’ve named the film: “Non-Stop Same Shit”

Censorship in Malaysia: It didn’t seem that anything was cut at the premiere screening at TGV 1 Utama. Good clean entertainment, distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.

Second opinion: My girlfriend thought it was not bad.

Verdict: Although extremely cliched and flawed, Non-Stop is sadly the most entertaining plane action thriller since 1997’s Air Force One and Con Air. Perhaps the best work I’ve seen from the Spanish director thus far.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

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Non-Stop 2014 movie poster malaysia liam neeson
Rated: P13
Genre: Action thriller
Running Time: 106 minutes
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Writers: John W. Richardson, Chris Roach, Ryan Engle
Cast: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Corey Stoll

Malaysia Release Date: February 27th 2014
Local Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures Malaysia
Studios: Silver Pictures, StudioCanal

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