"Hands up if you think the old lady's in on it?"
There is a point
in NON-STOP where it starts becoming entertaining – some way into the second
act, the chaos and conspiracy around Federal Air Marshal Bill Marks (Liam
Neeson) keeps ratcheting up, mid-flight, someway past the point of ridiculous.
Here, the film is buzzing on its Hitchcockian inspirations/aspirations, and it’s all the
more fun for it.
Sadly that brief high is book-ended by a trudging set-up (something about a terrorist trying to extort $150 million by killing someone on board every 20 minutes, etc.), and an ending that manages to be both ‘meh’ and not completely logically sound.
Neeson can do the gruff, grizzled “I will find you, and I will punch a hole in your face” action thing in his sleep by now – and more power to him for that, but nothing here is a stretch for him. Likewise, there’s nothing particularly new or exciting in the script, except for the seemed-ok-on-paper idea to have Marks communicating with his nemesis exclusively via text message (TV’s Sherlock does it better) for at least three quarters of the film.
This is director Jaume Collet-Serra’s second movie with Neeson, after UNKNOWN. Both films more twisty thrillers than TAKEN-style actioners, but because TAKEN took a boatload of cash, both have been marketed to resemble that predecessor. It’s not worth getting your knickers in a twist and demanding your money back from the box office, though – whichever way you cut it, NON-STOP is a perfunctory experience not unlike a long-haul flight: by the end, you’re just glad it’s done.
But one interesting point: keep an eye on the loveable old lady who is briefly one of Marks’ suspects – for all NON-STOP bothers to explain, she may very well have been in on it after all. Sequel...? Dun-dun-DUUUUUUUH...!
NON-STOP is released pretty much everywhere from February 27.