If you've seen any Liam Neeson movies in the last few years, then you know that the man can't be stopped -- or at least not very easily, considering he's fought off waves of henchmen, a pack of giant wolves, and trauma-induced amnesia, all through sheer ass-kicking willpower.
And in "Non-Stop," the actor's latest collaboration with "Unknown" director Jaume Collet-Serra, Neeson plays Bill Marks, a worn-down federal air marshal with a drinking problem. He soon finds himself dealing with a much bigger problem though (or at least a more punch-able one) when he receives a text message that someone on his transatlantic flight to London will die every 20 minutes unless a $150 million ransom is paid.
What follows is a mystery full of twists, turns and red herrings, all meant to trip Neeson's character up, but once again, the bigger mystery might be why anyone actually thought they could slow down the relentless action hero. So, as a public service to both audiences and movie villains everywhere, the following is a quick rundown of all the things that fail to stop Neeson in the action thriller "Non-Stop."
Like George Clooney in "Up in the Air," Marks has no patience for people who slow him down at airport security. Don't get your shoes off fast enough, and he won't hesitate to cut you -- in line, that is. Oh, and while we're at it, don't even think about refusing a request for your window seat either.
The "no smoking" policy:
Inflight smoking has been prohibited for years, but airline policy is no match for Neeson. Marks is able to contravene the blanket ban with a simple workaround that would make MacGyver proud.
There's no time to waste when you're texting with a potential hijacker, and luckily, Bill's phone has Autocorrect, as seen in the string of texts that continually pop up on-screen. It's a clever, modern stylistic choice that Collet-Serra uses for sight gags as much as easy readability. You can tell somebody's a "House of Cards" fan, and not just because they cast Corey Stoll.
As the movie shows us on more than one occasion, Marks may not be great at making friendly small talk, but that's only be because he considers any personal information divulged (such as discussing your final destination, or asking him what he does for a living) as admissible evidence that you might be a terrorist.
Thinking about his daughter may give Marks momentary pause and a sort of tunnel vision, but his troubled past never prevents him from focusing on the present and getting the job done. Instead, it gives Neeson's character a humanizing backstory that also proves pretty useful in totally bumming out an airplane full of panicked people.
His fellow passengers may see a lone middle-aged Muslim man as an obvious flight risk, but not Marks. That's because everyone is a suspect for the paranoid air marshal until proven otherwise. Yes, even you, adorable precocious child.
As if being stuck on a non-stop flight to London with a would-be terrorist wasn't already claustrophobic enough, the 6'4" Neeson has to have one of his patented fight scenes inside an airplane bathroom. But as luck would have it, tight spaces and low headroom appear to actually heighten the bone-crunching efficiency of Neeson's trusty repertoire.
Forget pesky things like "due process" and "probable cause," because those won't save you from Liam Neeson. Marks throws one potential suspect around the galley like a ragdoll, unlawfully subdues another with duct tape, and conducts "random" searches of his fellow passengers. And it's not just federal laws that Neeson openly flaunts in "Non-Stop," he's apparently not subject to the laws of physics or common sense either.
While everyone else is reaching for the oxygen masks during the movie's insane climactic fight scene (the audience included), Neeson is snatching guns out of midair and climbing over seats. Remember that the next time you grab your armrest during a little minor turbulence.
True, after the big reveal, a lot of little things don't make much sense upon further reflection. But Collet-Serra and Neeson fly over those so fast and with such conviction that you'll be too engrossed in all the twists and turns to notice until you're already out of the theatre.
Appearances can be deceiving, as "Non-Stop" reminds us over and over again with a string of clever red herrings, meant to keep moviegoers guessing as much as Marks. And thanks to Neeson and the rest of the surprisingly strong cast (including Oscar-nominee Lupita Nyong'o as a fill-in flight attendant), Collet-Serra's stylish direction, and a script that's constantly acknowledging (and then subverting) audience expectations, "Non-Stop" turns out to be a pretty enjoyable action thriller, despite ending with a twist that even the movie's own fictional news anchors call "unbelievable."
Rogue beverage carts:
Come on, the man's fought Batman. Did you really think a bar on wheels would faze him?
"Non-Stop" is now playing in theatres.