Magazine article Variety

Neeson's 'Non-Stop' Not Quite First-Class

Magazine article Variety

Neeson's 'Non-Stop' Not Quite First-Class

Article excerpt

Neeson's 'Non-Stop' Not Quite First-Class

Continuing his prodigious run of duosyllabic, Euro-financed action movies, Liam Neeson is back with a gun in his hand and a weary grimace on his long Irish mug in "NonStop," a sometimes inspired, mostly serviceable doomed-airliner thriller that reunites its star with "Unknown" director Jaume Collet-Serra for another round of pseudo-Hitchcockian hijinks. Lacking anywhere near as clever as script this time, Neeson and Collet-Serra put this wronged-man programmer dutifully through its paces, with plenty of the gruff machismo and close-quarters grappling that have made the 61-yearold actor a late-career global action star. Turnstiles should click briskly for this Studiocanal/Joel Silver co-production, which opened Feb. 26 overseas, 48 hours ahead of its Stateside bow.

It's easy to imagine that "Non-Stop" was pitched as "'Unknown' on an airplane," with Neeson once again spending most of the running time trying to convince people he is who he says he is - in this case, the federal air marshal trying to root out a hijacker, as opposed to the hijacker himself. When we first see Marks, sitting in his car outside JFK on a rainy, wintry day, the bottle of Jim Beam in his hand tells us he's a man with a troubled/tragic past that will inevitably come home to roost.

Collet-Serra then plows through the other scene-setting details in similarly expedient fashion, introducing an "Airport'-worthy cast of passengers that includes a frazzled businesswoman (Julianne Moore), a tough New York cop (Corey Stoll), a thirtysomething slacker dude (Scoot McNairy), a Muslim doctor (Omar Metwally) just waiting to be racially profiled, and the de rigueur unaccompanied minor. By 10 minutes in, the movie is airborne, and by 15, Marks has received the first in a series of anonymous text messages (sent over the plane's secure network) stating that someone onboard will be killed every 20 minutes until $150 million is transferred into a designated bank account.

One of the consistent pleasures of airplane movies, at least for frequent flyers, lies in seeing the fictional airline names and logos dreamed up by movie production designers, along with the simulated aircraft themselves, their rows and aisles invariably enlarged to accommodate the camera's passage. Here, we're traveling on a British Aqualantic 767 bound for Heathrow, and it comes equipped with a crew whose members, all too plausibly, initially dismiss the threatening messages as a hoax. (They include captain Linus Roache, co-pilot Jason Butler Harner, and flight attendants Michelle Dockery and Lupita Nyong'o, who has precious little to do in a role she clearly filmed before anyone had seen "12 Years a Slave. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.