Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
From the trailer of this film, it looks like Flightplan meets Die Hard, with just a touch of Taken thrown in for good measure, and truthfully, while it looks somewhat goofy and low-rent from the the trailer, it actually turned out to be quite good, and not quite what it appeared to be at first blush. Bill Marks (Neeson) is an ex-cop, turned burned-out Air Marshall who is a weary veteran of the Air Marshals service. He views his work not so much as a life-saving duty, but as a desk job in the sky (and he totally hates to fly). As it turns out, today’s flight will be not be nearly as routine a trip as he would hope. After they are in the air, and well on their way into their transatlantic journey from New York to London, he receives a series of mysterious text messages on his secure channel ordering him to have the government transfer $150 million into a secret account or a passenger will die every 20 minutes.
Well, he may be something of a burnout, but he is still competent enough to take his job seriously, and he immediately begins looking for who could possibly be hacking his account, and the measure of seriousness of the threat. As the clock ticks down he begins to realize that he is being lead around by the nose to jump through the precise hoops that the hijacker wants him to jump. Unfortunately for Marks, to both his bosses and to the outside world, it appears that he, and not some nameless, faceless terrorist, is the real culprit behind the hijacking. Well for those of us who suffered through Unknown it really isn’t so clear as to who the bad guy might be, but as it turns out, the ending is truly a nice turn, thus saving the film form total obscurity.
The film does seem to take its own sweet time to get going, and much of it seems to pass for what we have all come to expect from this type of film, but once the twist is revealed, it really starts to become riveting. So, as much as we’ve come to like watching Neeson kick the crap out of folk, this isn’t really his best work. Good, but wait for it on TV.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.