HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:77
I’m a big fan of thrillers/action movies that take place on airplanes. There’s just something fun about being confined in a small space with action heroes and a short fuse. From the trailers I was expecting a rumble in the sky with all the awesome stupidity of “Passenger 57” or “Executive Decision”. One man, one desire, one gun, and only a certain amount of time to “git er done”. I was pleasantly surprised when I actually sat down and watched the movie as it played out as much more of a thriller as an action movie, blending bits of “Flightplan” in with the action and actually kept me guessing for quite a bit of time. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of times where you have to turn off your brain and ignore many of the improbably situations that occur when you have this genius mastermind controlling every second of the heist. I mean, a person can only predict so far in advance a person’s actions before something goes awry and these thrillers rely on simple acceptance of that within the film universe to even become plausible. This still doesn’t take away from the fun time I had watching the plot unfold and keeping me wondering just who the real villain was.
Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is one tired and worn out air marshal. This isn’t a duty to him, it’s a 9-5 job that has worn him down for years and he drinks on duty just to survive the trip. He can do the job in his sleep and today is just another boring flight for him. Boarding a plane for London he dots his I’s and crosses his T’s before settling down for a boring flight. Sitting next to a nervous passenger named Jen (Julianne Moore) Bill soon finds out that this flight is not going to be as boring as it seems. Getting a text on his secure phone with a message that a passenger will be killed every 20 minutes unless $150,000,000 is transferred into an account before the plan lands, Bill now has to find and stop a madman on board. With the game afoot Bill can only trust the Pilot, the co-pilot, a flight attendant and Jen, who’s been with him the whole time. Tracking down anyone who has access to a phone that could text midflight he soon learns that our villain is a Wiley one. With one misdirection after another Bill is nowhere near finding out his identity and he is suddenly targeted as the hijacker by our mysterious foe.
Now, I can’t really go any further in the plot line without giving too much away. These movies thrive on keeping you guessing, and if I reveal any more certain plot points will be spoiled. That’s actually a good thing, in my opinion. While certain reveals are pretty obvious, like Bill’s initial suspicions turning out false, the film clips along nicely and keeps us guessing the entire time about who the villain (or villains) is. There are certain discoveries that Bill makes which are most certainly red Herrings. I mean, with 25 minutes of runtime into the film you can be pretty certain we haven’t found the real villain, otherwise the next 1.15 would be pretty boring. Still, I had a lot of fun with this thriller, as it gave us a lot of everything. There’s plenty of mystery and intrigue, especially with the twist of Liam’s character being framed for the entire thing and being branded a terrorist by the TSA and Marshal’s service. The ending really takes off with good old action cheese as Liam Neeson, the new action star, takes on the found villain in a gun battle amidst the clouds. Strangely enough I really love Liam Neeson as an action star and REALLY wish he had taken up the mantle earlier in life. With his advanced age we don’t have much time left for him to really put out the moves. Even in Taken two they said he had to do more cuts in the film because Liam Neeson was slowing down and it was hard to do the moves. Even so they choreographed an incredible close quarters combat scene in a lavatory that was REALLY well done. As a martial artist for many years I was really impressed at some of the realistic moves that were displayed in those scene. The wrist locks and submission techniques that Liam was using are straight up combat effective and most commonly used in Aikido and military training.
The rest of the characters were pretty cookie cutter, but they did their job well, even though Julianne Moore felt a bit wasted. She was a poignant character, but she didn’t have ENOUGH importance to really thrust her into the center of the action. This was really a one man show, with supporting characters filling in all the blanks till Bill could find out who was causing all the commotion. Still, the rest of the cast did their job quite well and didn’t distract from the film in any way, which is about the best compliment you can say for a film like this.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=19202[/img]The AVC 2.39:1 encode that Universal Studios gave for “Non-stop” is quite impressive. The film is bathed in darkness and has that sort of hazy, dreary look that a nighttime flight has. The color palette seems to lean VERY heavily towards the ever popular teal look and has a nice mix of green to the mix. With such a dark movie and a film source we see a nice layer of grain covering the film, but the downside to the picture is the fact that it isn’t as razor sharp as I would like. The hazy, dreary, dark look to the film gives a nice atmosphere but there is a layer of softness on the film that tends to make fine detail a little harder to see. That’s not to say the film is devoid of detail, for there are a lot of times where the image is razor sharp, especially in areas of the plane where there is a little more light. With so much black and darkness I was worried about crush or greyed out blacks, but the black crush was kept at bay and there was no significant digital artifacting that I could see. A very pleasing picture that replicated the same slightly soft image that I remember from the theater.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=19210[/img]The sound is a definite winner. Thrillers and action movies always are a pleasure to run through my sound system because of the extra effort they always seem to have been given. The dialogue is crisp and clean, locked to the center channel and I can find no faults with the dynamic range, meaning my hand never had to reach for that remote once during the viewing. For being in such a confined space, the ambience of the film was extraordinary as you can hear the dinging of cell messages from all around, the rattle of suitcases in the overhead compartments and the murmur of voices coming from all directions, all giving the surrounds a great workout. The LFE level is very nice with a lot of added rumble from the take-off as well as the throbbing score punctuating the film. It’s never wildly loud or bloated, but extremely punchy and accurate, knowing the best time to rear its head and content to just adding some extra weight to the track the rest of the time. Very clean, very articulate and very satisfying, Universals 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is a very solid workout for us home theater buffs and shouldn’t disappoint.
• Non-Stop Action
• Suspense at 40,000 Feet
“Non-Stop” requires a certain amount of checking your brain in at the door, but it turned out to be a very enjoyable action/thriller that certainly kept me entertained for almost 2 hours. It’s nothing revolutionary, but Liam Neeson dominates these action type roles and I certainly have no problems about spinning this one in my home theater. The video is great, the audio is amazing, I just wish they had thrown in some more special features for us collectors. I certainly recommend it as a fun popcorn flick for a Friday night. Recommended to watch.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Written by: John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DD 2.0, Spanish, French DTS 5.1
Runtime: 106 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 10th 2014
Buy Non-Stop Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Give it a Watch
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