There are two things that you need to know before making the decision to see Non-Stop: first, just because Liam Neeson was great in the first Taken, you can’t assume that he’s going to be great in every violent thriller after that. For example, remember how bad Taken 2 was? Second, remember one of the other bad Neeson thrillers, Unknown? Me neither, but that movie was directed by the same guys who has given us Non-Stop. There’s plenty of potential here, but Non-Stop completely wastes it.
Neeson plays an alcoholic Air Marshall who’s targeted by terrorists on a specific flight from New York to London. Somewhere over the Atlantic, he received a text message on his secret TSA cell network from a killer on the plane. Knowing Neeson’s dark past, the mysterious terrorist blackmails Neeson into a dirty game of cat and mouse in a fuselage flying 40,000 feet above Earth. With a passenger dying every 20 minutes and the terrorist’s identity unknown, every passenger is a suspect and Neeson will have to be sneaky to save lives and stop the terrorist and his/her plot.
The premise as described by me isn’t half bad, but when you find out that the bulk of the plot takes places in real time – a passenger dying every 20 minutes means that only three or four passengers will die in the whole movie – it loses its tension. Intensity is replaced with tediousness. It becomes a waiting game full of cheap thrills. When literally every single character does something to lead you to believe that he/she is the villain at one point in the picture, you’ve gotten out of control. And it’s an even cheaper pay-off when – SPOILER ALERT – the killer ends up being your first hunch. END SPOILER
With a runtime of 106 minutes, Non-Stop feels longer than a transatlantic flight. You’re better off playing pre-Oscar party nominee catch-up this weekend than wasting your time on Non-Stop.
(Photo credit: Universal Studios)