The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

NON-STOP (2014) ****

Whenever critics discuss thrillers, the terms “white knuckle”, “hair-raising”, and “edge of your seat entertainment” get thrown around a lot. Well, I can honestly tell you that all three of those terms apply quite literally to Non-Stop. This is one badass thriller that actually thrills you. It’s one of those types of kickass flicks that kick so much ass, it leaves boot prints.

Liam Neeson stars as a divorced, alcoholic air marshal grieving over the loss of his daughter. Halfway through a transatlantic flight, he begins to get text messages informing him that a passenger will die every 20 minutes if $150 million isn’t wired to an accountant. Neeson thinks they’re bluffing, but when people start winding up dead, he has to work fast to save the lives of the passengers (and the crew); not to mention diffuse a bomb that’s on board the plane.

Over the past decade or so, Neesonploitation movies have been an interesting phenomena. Neesonploitation films are so named because producers exploit the fact that Liam Neeson will star in virtually anything. In the past three months he’s popped in Anchorman 2, The Nut Job, The Lego Movie, and this. And before the movie, there was a trailer for A Million Ways to Die in the West, co-starring Neeson. Of course, the action films are Neeson’s bread and butter. And of this subgenre, Non-Stop is easily the best one. (Yes, it’s even more entertaining than Taken.) Not only that, of all the Star Wars Actors on a Plane movies, Non-Stop is easily the best one; surpassing both Air Force One and Snakes on a Plane.

If that doesn’t say it all right there, I don’t know what does.

It’s quite amazing how much suspense director Jaume Collet-Serra (no stranger to Neesonploitation after directing Unknown) is able to wring out of the simple, but effective premise. I mean, who knew twenty minutes of receiving text messages could be so dang nerve-wracking? Incredibly, once the flick sorta dovetails into the usual Neeson formula, things heat up even more. When the plane starts going down and bombs are going off and Liam Neeson is flying through the cabin at zero g force and shooting people, you have to admit that this is why you go to the goddamn movies.

Neeson gives one of the best performances of his career here. From the first moment we see him spiking his morning coffee with hooch and mixing it up with a toothbrush, we’re on his side. And he has some really great moments with his Chloe co-star Julianne Moore (Is it me, or is she getting hotter as she gets older?), who plays a concerned passenger.

Non-Stop also has what has to be one of the greatest Talking Killer Scenes ever put on film. In the end, the baddie puts a gun to Neeson’s head and spouts off lots of political dogma at him while the passengers cower in fear. Then when he’s done Liam quips, “You should’ve just handed out pamphlets. It would’ve saved us all a lot of trouble!”

Tags: action, n, thriller

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