Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Non-Stop

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures.
There are no snakes on this plane, but who needs them when you've got Liam Neeson? In this latest collaboration between the unlikely action star and director Jaume Collet-Serra (who was also responsible for 2011's "Unknown"), Neeson plays an air marshal with a past - what other types are there in Movieland? - who is first the investigator and later the suspect in a murder mystery playing out at thousands of feet in the air.

Neeson's Bill Marks, whose name you'll likely never forget due to the number of times it is repeated during the course of the film, has a bit of a drinking problem and some unresolved familial situations. At the beginning of the picture, he boards a plane and, shortly after takeoff, starts receiving cryptic messages from one of the passengers, threatening to kill people on the flight if Marks does not miraculously round up $150 million and transfer it into an account.

The killer keeps his word, although the first few deaths are preposterously carried out. As the body count increases, Marks himself becomes the prime suspect - at least to the investigators on the ground and some of the more wary passengers.

One of the elements Collet-Serra and company nails is how annoying our fellow passengers can be under duress. In fact, the obnoxious behavior of several of the characters on the plane struck a note of familiarity.

On the other hand, "Non-Stop" is pretty much non-stop ridiculousness. If you can get past the completely absurd plot turns, the ludicrous method in which the villains carry out their diabolical plans and the ultimately nonsensical reasoning behind carrying out those plans, you might actually enjoy yourself.

I typically roll my eyes when I hear people insisting that audience members "leave their brains at the door" in order to be able to enjoy so many of Hollywood's movies. In this case, however, that rings true.

"Non-Stop" is often entertaining and Neeson does his best at remaining serious amid completely preposterous twists and turns. It's not a great movie - and not necessarily even a good one, but if you are looking for a silly - but fun - action thriller, you could do much worse than this.

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