Neeson’s heroics keep ‘Non-Stop’ in the air

Bill Marks (Liam Neeson), an air marshal on a transatlantic flight, expects trouble after a terrorist hacks his secure phone in "Non-Stop." (AP Photo/Universal Pictures)

Bill Marks (Liam Neeson), an air marshal on a transatlantic flight, expects trouble after a terrorist hacks his secure phone in “Non-Stop.” (AP Photo/Universal Pictures)

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

The good thing about “Non-Stop” is it shouldn’t scare anyone away from flying because there’s no way the events that take place in the movie could actually happen.

Liam Neeson is Bill Marks, an air marshal who clearly doesn’t like his job. He’s on a flight to London when he starts to get messages on his secure phone line. Someone wants $150 million or a person on the plane will get killed in 20 minutes.

Just about everybody on the plane becomes a suspect, and that includes Jen Summers (Julianne Moore), a woman who arranged to sit next to Marks.

The body count goes up, though not always in logical ways, and the pressure on Marks intensifies.

Before long, the situation starts to widen the cracks in Marks’ already broken life, and people on the plane and on the ground wonder what crazy things he might be capable of doing.

I found myself of two minds: 1) The filmmakers can’t be serious, and 2) I hope Marks comes out on top.

Somehow, that second line of thought takes over as Marks faces one obstacle after another.

The last 20 minutes of “Non-Stop” are a thrill ride that had me twisting in my seat and pulling for Marks to somehow defy incredibly large odds.

When the credits rolled, I was surprised by how much I’d come to care for Marks and his mission.

On the negative side, the plot relies too much on coincidences. Characters have to do things of their own free will in order to keep the story going, and that drops the believability quotient to dangerous levels.

But Neeson’s acting heroics pull “Non-Stop” out of a nosedive. Marks is a broken-down loser, and he just might fail miserably, but he’ll never quit fighting for those he’s sworn to protect.

I give “Non-Stop” a C plus.

It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.