Monday, October 06, 2014

Non-Stop (2014)

There’s not a whole lot you can do on an airplane.  With movies, any confined space is going to present problems.  It worked in Exam.  Several people are competing for one job.  When the turn on each other, not being able to leave the room adds to the suspense.  With Non-Stop, you have a similar problem.  Liam Neeson plays an air marshal named Bill Marks.  He’s not the best person.  He drinks.  He argues with people.  He even sneaks a smoke on the lavatory.  The good news is that he gets to travel a lot.  The bad news is that it’s the kind of work that can take a strain on you and your family.

It’s shaping up to be another routine flight when Marks gets a message over the secure network.  The person on the other end threatens to kill passengers at regular intervals unless money is transferred to a specific account.  He initially assumes it to be a joke by the flight’s other air marshal, Jack Hammond.  Hammond denies everything, even showing Marks his own pager.

It doesn’t seem like it would be that easy to pull off something like this.  There are several suspects, though.  Could it be the friendly woman that put forth some effort to sit next to Marks?  It would be too obvious if she took out a pager.  Could it be the angry guy that talks back?  Maybe it’s the token Arab/Muslim guy that everyone’s ready to point a finger at.

It doesn’t help that Marks has no proof.  At best, he looks paranoid.  Things get worse from there, especially when people actually start dying.  You’d think someone would notice a fellow passenger sending texts and turn them in.  The movie manages to go on for 1:46 with the bulk of it in the airplane.  You’d think Marks would be able to see the person given the right vantage point.  It’s never that simple.

That’s the big problem I had with the movie.  The movie is entertaining, but requires a certain suspension of disbelief.  You’d think two trained air marshals could figure out who one person is when the person they’re looking for is typing something on a wireless device.  It shouldn’t take that long to figure everything out.

It’s as if someone got the idea and tried to get it as close to two hours as they could.  It’s interesting to see how the next person will be killed, but that’s not really exciting enough to carry the film.  There is also part of the movie that would be a good candidate for Mythbusters, assuming there’s a way to test it at all.  Knowing that there’s a bomb on board, Marks proposes that they bury the bomb in luggage at a weak point in the plane to direct the blast.  I’m not sure that it would go down as expected.

This is one of those cases where I’m glad it was a free rental from Redbox.  The premise wasn’t enough to get me into the theater, but I did want to watch it.  The movie came off as a little too cliché to me.  If you can get it through Netflix, I’d say go for it.  Just don’t ask too much of the movie.

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