‘Non-Stop’ High on Thrills, Low on Brains

Non-Stop2014PosterLiam Neeson is an air marshal on a hijacked plane. Yes, that is the plot summary of “Non-Stop” but it is also all I should have to say to make you enticed to watch the film. Also starring Julianne Moore and Corey Stoll, the film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who also directed Neeson in “Unknown”.

Liam Neeson adds credibility to any film he is in. He takes pretty much any role he wants, but unlike other actors who do that such as Nicolas Cage, Neeson gives every role his all. Whether he playing Zeus or punching wolves, Neeson can make even the corniest movie entertaining if nothing else, and “Non-Stop” is no different. It is a stupid, over-the-top movie that benefits greatly from Neeson’s presence; his growling tone and frantic actions keep the film from ever being boring.

“Non-Stop” really is one of those movies that you have to watch with absolutely no brain cells on. There are so many unexplained plot twists, implausible breaks in the laws of physics and laughable coincidences that if you watch the film with connections to reality you may just get an aneurism.

I’m all for fun, brainless movies, but a film has to know what it is. The biggest problem with “Non-Stop” is that it spends 75% of the film being a mindless Liam Neeson thriller, but suddenly switches gears and tries to implement a political agenda and give a view on social issues. If the whole film had been building up to a lesson, or the filmmakers hadn’t ditched the rules of reality so early, then maybe the message would have been welcome. But since it comes out of left field it just exposes the film for trying to be smarter than it really is.

I am really split on “Non-Stop”. It is certainly no “Taken”, or even better than the last Neeson-Collet-Serra pairing “Unknown”, but it does a good job at never losing your interest. You know what the characters know, and are right next to Neeson, trying to figure out which of the passengers is hijacking the plane.

How much fun you have with the movie really relies on how easily forgiving you are of flawed movies, because “Non-Stop” has more than its fair share of them.  If you can easily overlook such things as nothing happening when a gun is fired at 30,000 feet in the air then you may just have a good time with “Non-Stop”. However if you are one of those people who needs their movies to have substance and both legs in reality, you may want to watch this with a grain of salt.

Critics Rating: 6/10

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