Like Taken meets Snakes on a Plane
Non-Stop is a fast-paced thriller about an alcoholic air marshal (Liam Neeson) aboard a plane who starts getting texts threatening to kill a passenger every two minutes unless $150 million is transferred to his account.
I went in with low expectations based on the previous work of Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown), since he tends to introduce exciting premises that lack payoff and fall flat. Fortunately, with Non-Stop he follows through and pays off on just about everything introduced in the initial premise.
Liam Neeson, as usual, is awesome as the badass who must operate outside of the law. Along for the ride are a few familiar faces: Julianne Moore (Children of Men), Corey Stoll (House of Cards), and current Oscar-nominee Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) who is severely underused. The supporting performances really elevate the film, populating the plane with a few stereotypical, but mostly likable characters.
If this film seems formulaic, that's because it is--it is riddled with action-movie cliches, expected plot-twists, and a few unexpected plot-twists. At times the movie can be patronizing. From the opening scene on, it ceaselessly and obviously reminds you of the main character's flaws: his alcoholism and relationship with his daughter. The movie also consistently pats itself on the back for being "not-racist," seemingly impressed with itself every time it subverts our (presumed) expectations by showing a Black or Middle Eastern character who does not turn out to be an antagonist.
Visually, Non-Stop makes the most out of its single plane setting. There are some fresh and exciting action scenes, and the climax will have you on the edge of your seat. There are some cool sequences I've never seen take place in a movie set on a plane, which often disregard common sense and physics.
Ultimately, Non-Stop is so-bad-it's-good. It elicits a lot of unintentional laughter, and just barely misses the mark of being a logical thriller, but it's a whole lot of fun.
Non-Stop comes out on Feb 28, 2014
Rating: 3/5 Stars