Agent Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is a Federal Air Marshall. Ironically, he hates flying. He’s had a rough life and it is well known that he is a drunk. (Of course he is. The good guys always seem to be these days. I guess it gives them something to overcome?) As a result, he isn’t as respected as one would expect.
Today didn’t start any different from any other day. He had a drink and a smoke before heading into the airport. He kept a weary eye on the mundaneness of people waiting for his flight before boarding.
Once seated on the plane, Jen Summers (Julianne Moore), a pushy woman upset that she didn’t get the window seat she was promised, traded seats with the man originally seated next to Bill, so she could finally have her window seat.
After takeoff, Bill received a text on his Air Marshall phone that put him on edge. The mysterious texter threatened to kill someone on the plane every 20 minutes unless $150 million was deposited into an offshore account. Bill is ready to do everything possible to protect the passengers. This isn’t as easy as it would seem. And then things get even more complicated.
I love Liam Neeson. He has power, charisma, and just a bad ass, in general. The character he plays in Non-Stop really is his niche. This is the type of guy Liam would be in real life if he weren’t an actor. At least, it’s how I picture him, if he weren’t an actor. Amid all the fighting and being Liam Neeson, he can also deliver a monologue that will strike fear into his enemies. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case in this movie. His speech tries to take a cue from one like it in Taken. Instead, it comes across as cheesy and forced. Nothing that should come from Neeson’s mouth. You have to wonder what he thought as he was saying it. At least with Samuel L. Jackson’s plane speech, we felt empowered and ready for action. And it was funny. Liam, sadly, gets none of that with his.
Julianne Moore plays a decent civilian drawn into the mess. She fares as well as to be expected. She could play this role in her sleep. The rest of the cast is disposable. No one really stands out. Oscar nominated Lupita Nyong’o seems wasted in this movie, what with a total of about 4 lines.
The motive behind the attack is a stretch at best. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. And that motive brings with it a scene that is reminiscent of the real events during the moments that it recalls. Yes, that’s vague, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.
That is not to say Non-Stop isn’t a decent movie. It has plenty of airborne action and Liam Neeson beating up bad guys to make it a watchable movie. If you ignore some minor plot holes and some sketchy writing, you are left with 1:45 of fun. It is just one of those “one watch” movies that I don’t feel a need to see again.