Liam Neeson is back in action as an Air Marshal in "Non-Stop." Neeson began the action-hero portion of his career back in 1990 with "Darkman." It's still a bit weird to see him in movies like this, and I went in thinking, "This is gonna be a stinker."
Neeson is Bill Marks, an Air Marshal who has to take a drink to get on a plane; who grips the seat during takeoff and smokes in the lavatory. So there's your set up. Bill Marks is not a straightforward guy. Shortly after takeoff he starts getting harassing text messages from someone telling him they're going to kill passengers one by one if they don't get $150 million.
Neeson immediately goes into action, but no one seems to believe him. Here's where I see this as an Agatha Christie movie (or the Family Guy episode that parodied it), called "And Then There Were None." Instead of being stuck on an island, we're 40,000 feet over the Atlantic.
Suspects are introduced slowly but surely, trying to keep the audience guessing just who could be the menace. Is it Marks? Is it Julianne Moore, who's sitting next to him? Is it the co-pilot? Most of the plot involves Neeson's escalation into near madness as he tries to sort our just WHO is texting him. This is the "Hitchcock" portion of the film. Will anyone ever believe him?
Eventually it all comes to an explosive finish. There really are terrorists, but they're not who you think. Plus with the ending, I felt it was almost too soon after the Asiana crash at SFO to put something like that in a movie.
Neeson does alright in the film, he's tough, he's emotional, he's crazy, etc. Julianne Moore is wimpy. She's the person on the plane I hate; she fights for a window seat and then goes to sleep. She helps Neeson through the film, but with no emotion whatsoever, it's off-putting. The rest of the cast is just kind of there as cogs to the overall wheel. No one really stands out, not even Oscar Nominee, Lupita Nyong'o as a flight attendant.
If you're desperate to see Liam Neeson "action hero," then check out "Non-Stop." Overall I would wait for a rental on this one. While not a complete stinker, it gets a "Meh" from me.
"Non-Stop" is rated "PG-13" for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references.
You can read more of Mary's reviews on her website.