Neeson’s still got it in action thriller “Non-Stop”

Liam Neeson fans rejoice! The old man still has it. In this high-octane, adrenaline-pumping action flick, Neeson shows why he’s the thinking man’s action hero.

Set on a trans-Atlantic flight at 35,000 feet, Bill Marks (Neeson) is a federal air marshal who receives a text making a deadly threat: until $150 million is deposited into an off-shore bank account, someone on the plane is going be killed every 20 minutes.

This, in and of itself, is a great plot line for an action movie, but it is just the beginning of Bill’s woes. It turns out
the account the money is to be deposited is in the name of…Bill Marks.

Now things have gone from ordinary action movie to mystery. Bill has no idea who’s trying to frame him or who he can trust on the plane or on the ground. All he knows is that in order to save the lives of the people on this unfortunate flight, and to prevent himself from taking the blame, he has to make sure that this plane makes it safely to the ground.

Poster for 'Non-Stop'
Poster for ‘Non-Stop’

Neeson’s performance is head and shoulders above most other action movie stars, because he—like few other action heroes—can actually act. When looking at the canon of action movies, the biggest star of most of them is the action, not the acting. Spectacle has become the order of the day; the more explosions and car chases and lengthy fight scenes, the less the star has to act. But this is not the case with “Non-Stop.”

Obviously, there are plenty of fx-driven sequences. But setting the movie on an airplane in flight immediately decreases the amount of typical action movie carnage. As a result, an actor of quality is required to provide both the physical element and the emotional depth, and Neeson does just that.

Julianne Moore provides a good performance as Jen Summers. Unfortunately, her character is written very two-dimensionally and could probably be played by just about anyone.

In terms of writing, the script by John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach and Ryan Engle is stellar. The overall plot may appear to be fairly simplistic, but the frame by frame details are exquisitely crafted and provide many twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat, making “Non-Stop” a thrill.

Rating: PG-13
Running time: 110 mins.
Grade: B+
Verdict: Neeson’s still got it in
action thriller