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Non-Stop

 Looking back at Liam Neeson’s recent filmography, it is easy to anoint him as one of the best action leading men from 2008 onwards. Since starring in the fan favorite Taken, Liam has continued his success as an action hero thanks to his numerous high-profile, big-budget films. Because of those roles, many people now only view him as an action star; however, Liam has had a diverse career prior to Taken. He was able to star in several acclaimed films and stage productions, which earned him numerous praises and even one Oscar nomination. By heart, Liam Neeson is a dramatic actor. So, what makes Neeson such a good action star? Look no further than to what makes him such a good actor to begin with. He is able to provide substance in any role, and is always convincing, likable, and dedicated to his character. With his latest effort in Non-Stop, Neeson is at it again being the compelling hero who must stop at nothing in order to save hundreds of people.

Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson in Non-Stop

Julianne Moore and Liam Neeson in Non-Stop

Non-Stop follows troubled air marshal, Bill Marks, on what appears to be another routine transatlantic flight. Shortly after the plane takes off, the entire airplane might be at risk. Marks receives a string of text messages that threatens the passengers on the aircraft unless the airline transfers $150 million into an unverified bank account. With his career and reputation on the line, Marks must protect the passengers at all cost even if it means risking everything he has.

Non-Stop is a smart, well-crafted action thriller that always finds a way to please the audience. From start to finish, you will be on the edge of your seat. The plot line may be preposterous, but you will be willing to suspend your disbeliefs because the film is as entertaining as it is engaging. Director, Jaume Collet-Serra, adds a nice style to the film. There are inspired sequences that capture the confines of the aircraft, and the action scenes are simply well done. This style of the film adds a unique sense of involvement, action, and surprises. Collet-Serra also does a wonderful job deceiving the audience. The majority of the film is a cat and mouse chase that has you actively trying to figure out who is the villain. Non-Stop has the character involvement reminiscent of the original Die Hard mixed with the urgency and desperation of Speed. All of this adds to an action thriller that knows what it wants to be, and becomes good, old-fashioned fun.

What really makes Non-Stop memorable is once again we have an action hero that is not only relatable, but also very human. Neeson portrays Bill Marks in a very genuine and passionate manner. He never stops being convincing, and is able to command every scene he is in. The audience sympathizes for him, and elatedly cheers for his every success. Non-Stop has reintroduce pathos to the action star, and Liam Neeson is given a character that is more than just your average one-dimensional hero. In hindsight, the character and performance is very reminiscent of Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Both characters have somewhat of a troubled past, but both are undeniably good men who are trying to do good. Additionally, both men are stuck in a confined space when chaos strikes, and both men are not invincible. Throughout both movies, they are constantly battered and bruised, which makes both of their journeys rewarding. By following this model, Non-Stop has a hero worth cheering for.

Along with the solid Neeson, the whole cast is equally engaging. They all grab the attention of the audience. The always great Juliane Moore is extremely heartfelt in her performance, Scoot McNairy is so potently convincing that he blends in and stands out at the same time. Corey Stoll, who is mostly known for his excellent performance in Netflix’s House of Cards, is so captivating to watch that you become naturally drawn to his every move. All in all, the cast elevates this movie into welcoming terrority.

 Non-Stop is one hell of a ride that offers more than just a bag of peanuts and a can of coke. It is always fun, always thrilling, and always one step ahead of its audience. With Liam Neeson guiding the way, the first good action thriller of the year has definitely arrived.

The cast includes: Liam Neeson (Taken 2), Juliane Moore (Don Jon), Scoot McNairy (Killing Them Softly), Michelle Dockery (Hanna), and Corey Stoll (House of Cards). It was written by John W. Richardson, Christopher Roach, and Ryan Engle. It was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown).

3 out of 4 stars.

-By Louie Coruzzolo

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