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Non-Stop (Blu-ray Review)

6 Jun, 2014 By: John Latchem

Street 6/10/14
Box Office $91.74 million
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references.
Stars Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Corey Stoll, Linus Roache, Nate Parker, Jason Butler Harner, Anson Mount, Lupita Nyong’o.

Now in his 60s, Liam Neeson has comfortably settled into the persona of an unassuming action hero, reluctantly yet efficiently saving the day with whatever “particular set of skills” he has at his disposal. Non-Stop isn’t quite “Taken on a plane,” but it’s not like anyone using that description is going to elicit many arguments to the contrary.

This time around, Neeson plays Bill Marks, a federal air marshal on a transatlantic flight whose expectations of an uneventful trip take a turn when he begins receiving cryptic messages over a restricted channel. The culprit warns that someone on the plane will die every 20 minutes unless the airline pays him $150 million. Bill plays along so he can investigate, but soon learns he’s being manipulated to make it seem as if he’s the one trying to hold the plane hostage.

Non-Stop is a decent thriller until it stumbles to the finish line by wrapping a revelatory plot twist in the kind of pseudo-political pabulum that passes for a message in Hollywood these days.

Neeson gets to play to audience expectations with a couple of close-quarters fights, including a gratuitous one tied into the absurd final act.

But the film definitely plays to Neeson’s strengths, and it surrounds him with an effective supporting cast that includes Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery (“Downton Abbey”), Linus Roache (“Law & Order”), Corey Stoll (“House of Cards”) and Shea Whigham (“Boardwalk Empire”). Recent 12 Years a Slave Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o is floating around here too as a flight attendant, but her presence is relatively minimal.

The direction and set design are also impressive, with the plane designed to allow some camera movement not typically seen in the claustrophobic corridors of movie aircraft. The  production design, camerawork and visual effects are the focus of the five-minute “Non-Stop Action” featurette on the Blu-ray.

The only other extra on the Blu-ray is the nearly eight-minute “Suspense at 40,000 Feet,” featuring the cast and crew primarily discussing the impact of the film as a mystery.

About the Author: John Latchem

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