Liam Neeson’s career of late has been a bit of an enigma to me.

Here is a man who once gave such thoughtful and understated performances in the likes of Schindlers List, Kinsey and Michael Collins, but ever since Taken (2008) he has carved out a career for himself as Irelands answer to Bruce Willis – often playing the role of a hard man with family problems, hellbent on finding people and routinely killing them.

Not that I’m complaining – Taken was a lot of fun (though the less said about Taken 2 the better) and other films such as Unknown and The Grey have proved that Neeson has the screen presence to consistently carry a movie in the action/thriller genre.

Non-Stop continues that trend and finds Neeson in the shoes of Bill Marks, a US Air Marshall with a clouded and miserable past, caught in the middle of a perilous cat and mouse game mid-flight above the Atlantic.

After receiving a text message on a secure network, an anonymous individual informs him that unless $150 million is transferred to a secret account, someone will be killed on the plane every 20 minutes.

Haunted by previous failures in his life and with various characters keeling over, Bill soon finds himself being framed for the hijacking the plane, with his well documented drinking problem not working in his favour (I did wonder if this was a nod to Airplane).

Director Jaume Collet-Serra, who in his second collaboration with Liam Neeson (the first being Unknown), handles the pacing pretty deftly and leaves the audience constantly guessing who the real culprit is and whether minor details are significant in the grander scheme of things.

In a post 911 world, Non-Stop makes no shame in playing on the fears that some individuals have of others and the claustrophobic setting on an airplane adds to the tension.

There is also a fair bit of dry humour thrown in, meaning that the proceedings is not too serious all of the time. Having said that, I can’t help but feel a little more humour would’ve been welcome.

The cinematography can be a bit on the wonky side at times, with handheld camera shots in abundance but for the most part the turbulence doesn’t stop the enjoyment of the film.

While the proceedings are swiftly moving along, the film sadly forgets to develop its supporting characters and with talent such as Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Lupita Nyong’o, Nate Parker and Scoot McNairy, this is a bit of a missed opportunity. Which is a shame, as we all know that Julianne Moore is a great actress, and Downtown Abbey’s Michelle Dockery and 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o both make a lasting if all too brief impression.

That being said, Liam Neeson once again nails the role of the hard man with little patience and a short temper (even if he is becoming a little typecast), and carries the film through to the end.

The film lets itself down as it nears the end and suffers from one too many plot twists, with some requiring a certain suspension of disbelief. As the story approaches its third act, it closely wanders into self-parody with things becoming all a bit absurd.

Ultimately, Non-Stop is non-stop entertaining nonsense.

Not to be taken too seriously, it is neither ground-breaking nor the dullfest it could’ve been. With the mixture of action and intrigue, there is more than enough here to keep the average cinema goer entertained.

Just don’t go expecting a first class trip.

Verdict: 6 out 10.

About The Author

Colin lives in south west London. Looks like a hobbit and has been watching films ever since he saw Return of the Jedi at the age of 3. You can follow Colin on Twitter @obicolkenobi.