Saturday, July 19, 2014

Non-Stop Mediocrity

Non-Stop is the kind of fast-paced dumb action thriller which Liam Neeson seems to so enjoy making these days. Well-paced, the story about an air marshal aboard a transatlantic flight hijacked by an unknown adversary has all the trademarks of a cliched action thriller including an uber-smart bad guy, protocols which keep putting innocent lives in danger, a down on his luck hero who breaks the rules, the tease of a romantic distraction (Julianne Moore), quick-cut blurry action sequences, plenty of implausible coincidences, consistently dumb choices from pretty much every character, and enough red herrings to feed half a theater full of movie goers.

Trouble begins halfway through the flight when Marshall Bill Marks (Neeson) receives a text message from a hijacker promising to kill a passenger every 20 minutes until he is paid $140 million all while making it appear to both the outside world and the passengers on the plane that Marks is the one responsible for the hijacking.

The plane's tight spaces lead to a claustrophobic feel that helps sell the story, but it also mean lots of hand-held camera work and plenty of shaky-cam (although thankfully not overly-nauseating). The thriller runs out of steam well before Marks unmasks the true villain at which point the movie because a madman's treatise on airline safety for no apparent reason other than the screenwriters attempt to turn a brain-dead action thriller into a soap box that would be laughable if it weren't so pathetic. Non-Stop isn't bad as I feared, but it's mediocre rise and crash, much like the flight itself, leaves little to actually recommend.

The Blu-ray includes copies of the movie on DVD and Ultraviolet digital, and two short featurettes on the making of the film and its action scenes.

[Universal Studios, Blu-ray $34.98 / DVD $29.98]

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