Hi everyone, Bryan Here…
In the next installment of Liam Neeson saving the world, or in this case, 150 people 30,000 feet up in the air on a commercial airliner from New York to London, things are so over-the-top ridiculous, things tend to not make a whole lot of sense. But what do you really expect from aLiam Neeson movie these days? That being said, this thriller in the air called ‘Non-Stop‘ is quite fun and is less cheesy than the ‘Taken‘ films, but not as gritty as ‘The Grey‘.
This outing marks the second team-up with Neeson and director Jaume Collett-Serra who previously worked on ‘Unknown‘. Jaume also directed the remake of ‘House of Wax‘ (the one with Paris Hilton), and the little horror film, ‘Orphan‘, so keep that in mind. But I have no doubt that Universal Pictures will make their money back with this Neeson vehicle, despite just how absurd this film is. The three writers on this movie make a decent attempt at a “terror in the sky” story line as we meet Bill Marks (Neeson), who is a former NYPD officer turned Air Marshall who is completely afraid to fly. So much so, that he has a death grip on a ribbon and his seat at the same time.
But luckily he sits next to Julianne Moore, who makes an effort to calm him down. But this seemingly normal flight takes a turn for the worst when Marks receives a text message saying that someone will die on the plane every twenty minutes if $150 million is not wired to an account.Twenty minutes go by and someone dies, and then another, and another. Meanwhile for reasons unexplained, the rest of the people on the plane are unaware that people have died, nor do they know what is going on.
The writers give us a twist with the account that the $150 million is supposed to be wired to is under Marks’ name, thus everyone accuses him of hijacking the plane, rather than protecting it. Marks tries all sorts of tricks to find out who is sending the texts to him, but cannot seem to find the villain, let alone figure out how wireless works over the middle of the Atlantic ocean. For most of the film, we are on a mystery hunt with Neeson, as it plays out more like a ‘Whodunit’ yarn, than an action packed thriller.
The characters on the plane aren’t exactly original as we have the Muslim guy who everyone thinks is a terrorist, the burly bald guy who is a police officer, the angry black guy, a creepy dude with glasses, and a hot female who is not above having sex in public. The plot goes from bad to insanely ridiculous when a bomb is discovered on board. How they deal with this is laughable, and when the villain and reason behind this debacle is just atrocious. It comes across as lazy writing, and would never be a real reason for doing something like this. It just doesn’t make sense, much like the entire movie.
Neeson does all he can with what he’s given here, and even his short speech of how he’s not a great man, but an asshole alcoholic is not engaging. And anybody, literally anybody could have played Julianne Moore’s role, as her character is not important. It took ‘Flight 10 minutes to accomplish a great and suspenseful airplane sequence, in what it took 90 minutes for ‘Non-Stop‘ to not accomplish. I know this review makes it sound like i really hated it, but that’s not necessarily the case. I enjoyed ‘Non-Stop‘ for what it was and what it tried to be, but the ending is almost unforgivable. Is it worth seeing? I wouldn’t waste your time in the theater, but should satisfy enough on home-video.
‘Non-Stop’ comes with a great 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The movie was shot in 35mm, which is rare these days, and it looks great, even though the film isn’t. And this image looks just as good as it did when it was in theaters a few months ago. The detail is mostly sharp and vivid throughout the film. Closeups reveal very fine textures in the uniforms and costumes. You can see almost every stitch in the plane seats. In addition to that, the actor’s faces reveal every facial hair, freckly, scar, and makeup blemish quite nicely. There are some softer shots, but it’s completely true to the source and not part of this transfer. Colors are very well saturated and strong throughout with some great blues and golds. The skin tones are always natural and the black levels are very deep and inky. There was a little bit of crush here and there, but it’s nothing to write home about. There were no other compression problems to speak of, giving this release a great video presentation.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and it sounds excellent. Being confined in an airplane for the entire film, the filmmakers did a great job with the sound effects and directionality of each noise. It’s powerful and robust throughout. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand with Mr. Neeson’s accent. The dialogue track is perfectly situated on the center channel as well. The sound effects full immerse you inside the plane with every noise sounding robust, full, and realistic. The third act where most of the action takes place is where the bass kicks in more and the surround activity increases. The LFE is great and the dynamic range is wide. This is a solid audio presentation.
Suspense at 40,000 Feet (HD, 8 mins.) – Here is a very short and standard promo reel for the film with interviews from the cast and crew as they quickly talk about the script, the characters, the stunts, and the director.
Non-Stop Action (HD, 5 mins.) – This is focused more on the stunt work involved in the film and discusses the fight choreography, Neeson’s old age, and real life air marshall stories.
THE ULTIMATE WORD
‘Non-Stop‘ isn’t a great movie, but it is entertaining enough for you Liam Neeson fans. It just kind of gave up on itself towards the end. But the first two acts are quite fun. The video and audio presentations are top notch, but the extras are less than thrilling. If you’re a fan of the film or of Liam Neeson, this Blu-ray is worth owning, but if not, you might want to rent this one.