In the tradition of other nailbiting airplane thrillers like “Red Eye” and “Flightplan” comes “Non-Stop,” which centers on an air marshal, Bill Marks (Liam Neeson), going about his regular duties by boarding a flight to London. It seems very routine at first, but part-way into the flight, he begins receiving text messages from a passenger who threatens to kill someone every 20 minutes unless $150 million is wired into a specified account. With the help of a stewardess (Michelle Dockery) and a fellow passenger (Julianne Moore), he attempts to find out who the mysterious texter is and why they’re doing this. However, as he proceeds in his task, his mission becomes even more difficult due to circumstances that make it look like Bill is trying to hijack the plane, a misunderstanding that seems to have been a part of the plan all along.
“Non-Stop” is not the kind of film that breaks any new ground in the thriller genre, but what it does have is a lot of suspense and a mystery that helps carry the film through its 100-minute runtime. Of course, a lot of it is what we’ve come to expect from a film like this, including a lot of misdirection as Bill desperately tries to find the culprit, but it hardly seems to matter when it works just as well this time as it has before, especially when it’s keeping you engaged and inching ever closer to the edge of your seat. Its biggest issues revolve around the underuse of some of its cast (Julianne Moore and Lupita Nyong’o in particular) and the conclusion, which could have been a little stronger and also requires a stretch of the imagination to work. However, with all the pros and cons weighed, “Non-Stop” remains a tense and exciting thriller that keeps you guessing right up to the big reveal, which is just about all you can ask from a movie of this genre. It may not reinvent the airplane thriller, but in this case it doesn’t have to to be effective.
“Non-Stop” comes to Blu-ray in a 2.40:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of questionable quality. Throughout the presentation, the picture shows a certain amount of grain, making it look a little dull and blurry. Luckily it doesn’t interfere too much with the experience, though a better effort certainly could have been made to clear it up. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is just a little soft, but not nearly as bad as other releases of late, so for the most part, everything is presented in a clear enough manner. Overall, both areas could have used a little improvement, but there’s nothing major that prevents you from enjoying the presentation.
Non-Stop Action and Suspense at 40,000 Feet: Both of these featurettes are brief glimpses behind the scenes, featuring interviews with the cast and crew. It offers you a look at what the set was like that they had to work on day after day, but unfortunately the content here is very superficial, so there’s not much to be learned from either of them.
“Non-Stop” is an engaging mystery filled with thrills that’s sure to keep you guessing with every twist and turn of the story. The ending could have used a little more work to make it more believable, but in a film like this, it’s hardly anything to complain about. Again, it may not reinvent the genre, but if you’re looking for a solid 100 minutes of entertainment, then “Non-Stop” is just the ticket.
Now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
Recent Blu-ray/DVD releases: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Tim's Vermeer, Alan Partridge, RoboCop (2014), Alexander: The Ultimate Cut, Ravenous, Son of God, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection, Stalingrad, The Monuments Men, Pompeii, 3 Days to Kill, Grand Piano, Her, Orange is the New Black: Season One, I, Frankenstein, Final Exam, Evilspeak, Star Trek: Enterprise - Season Four, The Legend of Hercules, Dead Shadows, Sorcerer, Copperhead, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Best of Bogart Collection, Beneath, American Hustle
Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic.