Liam Neeson has in recent years created a genre of action films all his own. Liam Neeson is unlike all other action stars because his prime “action” years are well beyond that of the normal actor. Starting with Taken in 2009 Neeson was already 57 year’s old. By Non-Stop Neeson is a 62 year old man, but he can still match blows with even the most versatile action stars of the past. He is the pre-eminent face of action in the new millennium. While actors like Slyvester Stallone has attempted to hold on to their action roots, they cannot compare to the modern sensibilities that Neeson represents. Non-Stop is a better name for Neeson’s career as of late, then it really is for this particular movie.
Non-Stop is a very fine and somewhat exciting action thriller. Neeson plays a complex, and flawed character trapped in a web of mystery and deception. The plot itself is fairly run of the mill for any action movies taking place on an air-plane. Someone is slowly killing off the passengers of the plane, and it’s up to air Marshall Neeson to figure out who is the culprit. I won’t spoil the final reveal, but it is definitely a polarizing concept that the villains of the film represent. On one hand the viewer may sympathize and agree with them, or the viewer may really grow to dislike their ideas (which is fine considering they are the antagonists of the film).
Is the film a well thought out thriller? Yes and no. As I stated before the film does have a run of the mill plot, but it does have some interesting things to say about news media and the perception that can be taken from out of context footage. We as humans are constantly attempting to engineer context for everything we see, and as such we can easily come to incorrect conclusions if we only have part of the story. The film tackles these elements in a somewhat satisfactory way, but this is hardly a message we haven’t seen before. The idea’s have been represented time, and time again often in smarter, more interesting ways. If the film were a student in your class, his papers would be more akin to aggressively average than insightful, or awful.
The action in the film is fairly forgettable, and doesn’t really offer anything too showy or interesting. This however isn’t really the point of the film, as the film-makers want to concern you in the intricate plot. The big saving grace of this film is Neeson himself. Neeson really embodies the character, and does not phone in his performance. Every instance of the film that requires Neeson to emote comes off superbly. Neeson’s character is someone you can sympathize with, but overall you aren’t really inclined to like him. Having an unlikeable action hero is a difficult feat to pull off, but Non-Stop manages to walk the fine line. The rest of the cast is entirely forgettable, with no one having any real roles. Julianne Moore is surprisingly bland, and boring in a supporting role, and the villains are over the top as they are merely the embodiment of an idea rather then being real fleshed out characters.
Overall this is a film that if you are a fan of Liam Neeson, you’ll enjoy, but if you aren’t a fan of Neeson’s work stay far, far away. If you want to catch Neeson’s latest action romp it will be playing Non-Stop tonight( 01.31) on HBO and throughout February. We leave you with a trailer.