I think the makers of "Non-Stop" should have gone that extra step and just named the movie what it really is: "Liam Neesons on a Plane". In fact, I think this movie was more entertaining than "Snakes on a Plane" was. Basically, every awesome thing that you would want to happen in an action thriller with Liam Neeson on a plane is here. The movie really utilizes Liam Neeson's persona well.
Basically, somewhere around the time "Clash of the Titans" came out, Liam Neeson became one of my favorite serious comedic actors. This is to say, he never really tries too hard to be comical, but instead stays serious even in the most funny situations and that, in turn, makes his scenes even funnier! I mean, the way he uttered the line "Release the kraken!" in "Clash of the Titans" was just as powerful as any Oscar nominated performance, but the line is so funny and over the top that it becomes utterly hilarious. Essentially all on his own, he turned "Clash of the Titans" from a train-wreck to an enjoyable enough campy movie.
"Non-Stop" is a much better movie than "Clash of the Titans", but it utilizes the same kind of charm that comes from Liam Neeson taking every role seriously, even when placed in ridiculous situations. Here, the situation is that Liam Neeson is an air marshal that gets a message on his phone saying that if he doesn't wire money to a specific account in 20 minutes then someone on the plane will die. He's not sure what to think. Is it some kind of prank or should he take this threat seriously? Well, better safe than sorry so he starts investigating the situation on the plane. Things get more intense and paranoia heightens as the clock keeps ticking on his deadline.
The trailer for "Non-Stop" is actually a little misleading. There are some pleasant surprises in store in "Non-Stop" that are pretty clever. The concept for "Non-Stop" might seem like one that wouldn't be able to sustain a a full length film. After all, how much can really happen on a plane? How exactly can someone get away with murder on a plane without someone noticing? These questions are answered with a movie that entertains from beginning to end. It is a movie filled with twists that causes thoughts such as "What is going on?" and "Anyone could be a suspect!" that really work for this kind of movie.
"Non-Stop" keeps you guessing and really plays with your mind at times. It reveals things at just the right time and in just the right amounts. It is a very fun movie experience. The editing, directing, and music all deserve credit for achieving the right thrilling atmosphere for this movie. Really though, most of the praise has to go to Liam Neeson.
The very first shot of the movie is a close-up of Liam Neeson's face. Right from this shot, people were already laughing. Now, I personally wasn't laughing as I felt there was nothing particularly funny about the shot, but I will confess that I understand what people were feeling. Liam Neeson has already created a persona for him that is built upon being very intense and serious in ridiculous situations. In this opening shot, he was already showcasing that kind of intensity with a quite serious look on his face. Later on in the movie, people were actually applauding Liam Neeson at certain moments. Whether people are taking him seriously or having a little fun with his performance, it is clear that he is a crowd-pleaser.
"Non-Stop" is the kind of movie where you really root for the hero. It is also a movie where you may find yourself questioning the hero. Is he a hero or is he just insane? It's this kind of mind-bending atmosphere that really works for this kind of thriller. Most of the time, however, you will be rooting for Liam Neeson's Bill Marks because, well, he's Liam Neeson!
The ending of this movie, like many thrillers, isn't quite as satisfying as the rest of the movie and the movie does lose some steam because of it. That said, the ending also provided a climatic moment that received more applause from the audience of this movie than I have seen for any movie in quite some time.
"Non-Stop" knows exactly what kind of movie it wants to be and achieves it with mostly success. This is a movie that makes the most of an actor's perceived image and the premise of its plot. It might not be anything ground-breaking, but it sure is entertaining. "Non-Stop" is a love letter to fans of Liam Neeson and being as I'm one of them, I can say I am truly flattered.