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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 28, 2014

Non-Stop Movie Review: Fans Of Liam Neeson Will Be Disappointed

LIAM NEESON started as a serious actor in “The Good Mother” with Diane Keaton, “Rob Roy”, “Michael Collins” and in “Schindler’s List” for which he got an Oscar nomination. His career sort of wavered but he found a new calling as an action hero in “Taken”. He’s now so busy but he still finds time to do voice overs for cartoon characters in animated movies like “Khumba”, “The Nut Job” and “The Lego Movie”.

“Taken” established him as an action star in 2008. Sadly, “Taken 2” is not as good as the original and “The Grey” also failed to impress us. Now comes “Non-Stop”, an airborne thriller that all happens inside a flight from New York to London. Liam plays Bill, a grizzled U.S. federal air marshall with nothing to lose since his family is all gone.

On board the plane, he gets mysterious text messages threatening that a passenger will die every 20 minutes if he wouldn’t ask his bosses to transfer $150 million to a secret bank account. It is later discovered that the account is actually under his own name, so authorities on ground quickly conclude that he himself is the plane’s hijacker. The texter even seems to know so many personal facts about him, including his drinking problem.

The movie raises so many questions and when the explanations come later, most are unconvincing we doubt very much if you’d be willing to buy them. The plot contrivances are so unsatisfying that you get this feeling you’ve been had. An action flick like this is meant to be mindless entertainment, but still, we want it to have a modicum of reality in it, just like in “Taken” which was so effective in making Liam like an old FPJ character.

Here, they just ask us to suspend our disbelief and ask no questions, which is something hard to do because the script is such an atrocity. Actually, the first thing that should have been stopped here is the script, which was written with logic thrown into the winds.

Action fans will also be disappointed as there’s really not that too many action sequences. The most fierce action scene happens inside a claustrophobic airplane toilet, where the action of the people fighting can be so confined and limited. But Liam is good and effective as the air marshall with a fierce sense of duty, despite the role’s limitations, and he’s ably supported by Julianne Moore as a seatmate who later becomes a possible romantic interest. Also in the movie is our favorite British TV actress today, Michelle Dockery of “Downton Abbey”, who plays a helpful flight attendant. Lupita Nyong’o who’s nominated as Oscar best supporting actress for “12 Years a Slave” plays another flight attendant but, unfortunately for her, hers is a thankless role as she’s not given anything substantial to do.