Non-Stop is always entertaining as an action thriller, but requires viewers to reject the seeping incredulity they will no doubt encounter.
Reluctant to fly to London, Bill Marks’ flight takes a turn for the worse when he receives text messages from an unknown source. Threatening the passengers on board, Bill must spring into action…
Non-Stop is the latest in a sub-genre of films where Liam Neeson plays the hero in an action movie with a dubious plot, risible twists, corny dialogue, or all three of the aforementioned. Undoubtedly, Non-Stop is entertaining fare, despite the plot and rationale becoming increasingly silly.
Non-Stop sees Neeson reconnect with Unknown director Jaume Collet-Serra. The director keeps the momentum going with the help of a deadline device. This gives the film a level of trepidation that works well. Non-Stop starts strong, with the premise offering a type of murder mystery in the sky. The film veers into action early on however, in what could be described as Speed on a plane.
As the film progresses, plotting becomes increasingly silly as suspects are revealed and eliminated. In the second half of the film it becomes more important to suspend disbelief. The climax, although action-packed, is a letdown, with the reason given for such a situation feeling too clichéd. When the culprit is revealed, it seems farcical that such an outcome would have been executed in that way.
Non-Stop is a proponent of rugged individualism for the most part. Bill Marks is the hero against the odds, relying on wits and strength rather than the outside help that realistically would have been forthcoming. Non-Stop seems to want to make a statement on airport security but backs away from outright condemnation. Instead, there are a few asides to media reporting and bureaucracy. Liam Neeson is decent in a now familiar role. Julianne Moore provides good support. Michelle Dockery and Lupita Nyongo’o are given little to do.
Non-Stop can be a little po-faced at times, although there is the occasional acknowledgement of how silly it all is. An enjoyable ride, but not a particularly satisfying one.