UK Release: February 28th 2014
Liam Neeson (here still in action mould) reteams with his ‘Unknown’ director Jaume Collet-Serra for ‘NON-STOP’ a new action vehicle which features Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery and Lupita Nyong’o and produced by uber-producer Joel Silver. Taking the spirit of Hitchcock (something which Collet-Serra tried to bottle with ‘Unknown’) and mixing it with ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, this tells the story of Liam Neeson’s air marshal receiving a text while on a New York to London flight that someone will die every 20 minutes if $100million isn’t deposited into a bank account.
The thing with ‘Non-Stop’ it does mean well. In the early goings of the film there is some good suspense and sense of isolation created on the airplane but as the running times continues the film descends into silliness. Full of cliché which when it want to be taken seriously just doesn’t work as they have been done to death from the 1970’s ‘Airport’ to 1980’s (and more alertly) ‘Airplane!’ .Taking riffs from ‘Flightplan’ and ‘Passenger 57’ – particularly with the now-needed Neeson shooting someone money shot action filled ending the film really struggles to find any real identity. And this is a shame, as I do believe Collet-Serra is a well educated director. But when they cast young rising actors (I haven’t mensioned them on purpose) as the antagonists it becomes noticeable who it is, and more so means the film doesn’t have much as a twist, and just more generic predictability before then going into something with horribly outdated CGI. It also continues the themes of the antagonistic force being some screwed up guy from doing a tour of duty in Iraq, which seems to be the norm today in Hollywood action cinema (see ‘White House Down’ just to name a one).Compared to other films in Collet-Serra back catalogue it is probably one of his best films, having helmed the 2005 ‘House of Wax’ remake, and the horribly miss marketed ‘Unknown’ and still to date his best film, ‘Orphan’ which I enjoyed as that ‘twist’ to me worked well with the tone of the film.
It might keep you father entertained for a Sunday afternoon action flick, Julianne Moore again acts as reassurance, which she does all the time at the moment, and the use of the graphic for texting actual works well, with him fudging up his type-in lines at time, however some might find it a little dull. So in a whole it’s a rather misguided package, which if you allow it to passes the time, but you can’t help but want more.