“Non-Stop,” released to theaters on February 28, offers a lot of suspense and action but wastes its interesting premise with a convoluted plot.
In the film, US Air Marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is on a non-stop flight from New York to London when he receives text messages that unless $150 million is transferred to a specified bank account, someone on the plane will die every 20 minutes. When the first death occurs right on time, Marks is forced to work against an impossible deadline as he enlists the help of the flight crew and a fellow passenger to determine who, among those onboard, is the culprit.
There are several aspects of the movie that make it somewhat unique. Marks is not a perfect multitalented hero we often see in action movies but a recovering alcoholic who can’t bring himself to forget the mistakes of his past. Also, it isn’t really an action-thriller movie, but more of a Hitchcock-styled mystery thriller for the 21st century. The action is mostly psychological, as the minutes tick down on Marks’ watch.
However, lapses in logic create problems for the plot.
The text messages, for example, would make no sense in real life. How could the killer time everything from the minute his or her finger presses the Send button so that the first victim dies exactly twenty minutes later? What if something unforeseeable came up, like turbulence, and every passenger had to remain seated? What if the plane lost cellular service, which is rare in the air anyway?
Other details are similarly implausible. No matter how meticulously a culprit plans a scheme, there will always be some unpredicted factor that rears its ugly head during the execution of the mission that requires changes in strategy. Yet, throughout the movie, the killer’s whole plan of killing somebody every 20 minutes while framing Marks for the murders goes too smoothly.
It’s no surprise, then, that a plot twist at the end of the film and a head-scratching third act also make little sense.
“Non-Stop” tries to reach some lofty goals, but this reviewer left the theater with a headache due to the glaring stretches of unreality and the disappointment that a potentially good movie was spoiled by poor writing.