Sunday, June 8, 2014

Video review: "Non-Stop"

There ought to be a name for this sort of movie, in which an aging star reestablishes his action-film cred by starring as a cantankerous oldster who puts a big hurt on some whippersnappers. Geezer’s Revenge? Oldsploitation?

Or perhaps we should just name the genre after Liam Neeson, who has become its current poster boy with the “Taken” series and now “Non-Stop,” in which he plays a federal air marshal squaring off against a mysterious killer in the skies. Neeson brings his usual crusty authority to the role as Bill Marks, a drinker and borderline loser who redeems himself through heroism.

The plot is more or less preposterous, with passengers dying every few minutes and the villain sending Marks clues and taunts via text message, as the latter tries to puzzle out the identity of the bad guy. Is it the quiet Muslim fellow? The obnoxious cop? Or maybe the amiable woman (Julianne Moore) chatting up Marks before the stuff hit the fan?

“Non-Stop” isn’t terribly original … OK, let’s be honest, it’s pretty much a rip-off of “Die Hard,” “Speed” and several other superior thrillers. But it does what it does well, with a reasonable amount of action and intrigue, plus Neeson backing it all up with his craggy solidity.

Call it what you like, but this old-school action/thriller delivers the goods.

Video extras are so-so. The DVD comes with a comprehensive making-of documentary, “Suspense at 40,000 Feet” that includes the participation of all the key cast and crew. The Blu-ray version adds a single featurettes with director Jaume Collet-Serra focusing on the creation of the movie’s many action scenes.



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