Non-Stop Blu-ray Review
Bill Marks (Liam Neeson, TAKEN) is a U.S. air marshal who prepares to get on a flight from New York to London the same way, it can be assumed, he does any other trip: with a bottle of booze. He carries tape with him to cover the smoke alarm to mask his late-night cigarette. He has a long face that shows he looks to be on the brink of melting down.
His job has made him see every cell phone and bearded, dark-skinned man as a potential threat. On the flight, he’s denied a cocktail and then things only get worse. While most of the other passengers sleep, his phone dings: “Are you ready to do your duty, Marshall?” The mystery texter reveals they’re on the plane with him and then sends another message: “Do I have your attention now?” And more: “Set your alarm to alert you in 20 mins…Because in exactly 20 minutes I’m going to kill someone on this plane.” The process will repeat unless Marks can deliver $150 million to the texter.
Marks lets a few others in on the threat—including Jen (Julianne Moore, WHAT MAISIE KNEW), whose biggest concern up to that point was not getting a window seat, flight attendant Nancy (Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary on DOWNTON ABBEY) and fellow marshal Jack (Anson Mount, AMC’s HELL ON WHEELS)—one of whom ends up a victim of the countdown.
Director Jaume Collett-Serra, whose previous movie, 2011’s UNKNOWN, also starred Neeson, and whose other credits include 2009’s ORPHAN and 2005’s HOUSE OF WAX remake, succeeds in creating a tense atmosphere by shifting brief but deliberate attention to various passengers that makes the viewer wonder, Why does that man have that look on his face?…or does he? With this, and the fact that NON-STOP takes place almost entirely in the confined space of an airplane, the movie is often quite suspenseful.
Eventually, though, the novelty wears off and we’re less concerned with whodunit than when the flight will land. As the plane makes its way over the Atlantic Ocean, we’re introduced to a series of scenarios and characters that seem much more absurd than the movie starts out suggesting there will be, like when Marks himself is accused as a terrorist or the introduction of a guy who can hack into the system and find out who the mystery phone belongs to. (The motive accompanying the big reveal is the most preposterous occurrence in the entire movie.)
Neeson has turned into quite the action star—one who isn’t just capable of carrying such a movie, but also of being a draw at the box office (TAKEN, TAKEN 2 and UNKNOWN all opened #1). Neeson is strong here, but the script (by John W. Richardson, Chris Roach and Ryan Engle, who perhaps inadvertently allude to the actor’s better action work when the texter references Mark’s daughter) still limits him in exactly how much he’s allowed to do other than snap a man’s neck and growl at his co-stars.
NON-STOP BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Universal delivers a very strong high-definition transfer of NON-STOP, with accurate colors, deep dark tones and excellent details throughout.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1; French DTS Digital Surround 5.1. Subtitles in English, Spanish and French. The audio is also without any detectable flaws, boasting clear dialogue, effective SFX and a stable soundtrack.
NON-STOP Action (5:14) highlights the more action-oriented scenes and features interviews with star Liam Neeson, director Jaume Collett-Serra, producer Joel Silver and more, who discuss shooting in such confined spaces.
Suspense at 40,000 Feet (7:45) offers a standard overview of NON-STOP, with clips, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.