Non-Stop 2014 ***

Liam Neeson has become a happy center for many a genre thriller, including Taken 1 and 2, Unknown and now Non-Stop, a traditional suspense drama which loses its head somewhat after a taut first hour.

Neeson plays Bill Marks, a Belfast-born air Marshall whose trip from New York to London turns into a nightmare. A series of text messages from an unknown opponent promise to kill and passenger every twenty minutes until 150 million dollars are put into a secure account.  With the help of fellow passenger Jen Summers (Julianne Moore), Bill tries to work out whereabouts on the plane the messages are coming from, questioning and occasionally beating up his fellow passengers as he races against time.

Non-Stop’s poster image, of Neeson firing his gun inside a diving plane, suggests much more action than Jaume Collet-Sera’s thriller delivers, but the first couple of acts have plenty of tension in an old-fashioned who-dunnit style. Things get pretty silly once the mystery is solved, but Neeson and Moore both giving a convincing account of their characters. Non-Stop isn’t a classic, but a reasonable time-passer for those who enjoy seeing a big movie star in a typically ludicrous scenario; when a newsreader mentions ‘unbelievable plot twists’, it’s hard to imagine the audience not agreeing.



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