The Curator of Schlock #388: Non-Stop

The Curator of Schlock #388 by Jeff Shuster


Liam Neeson on a plane.

Where did I leave off? Oh, yes. Three goons were about to beat me to death in a darkened alley when a figure clad in purple ninja armor appeared from the shadows. The lanky goon emptied a clip in the ninja’s direction, but his ninjatō deflected every bullet. Sword in hand, the ninja drove the blade into the lanky goon before the criminal could squeeze another shot off. The other goons scrambled away and the ninja turned his eyes toward me. — To be continued.

This week’s movie is 2014’s Non-Stop from director Jaume Collet-Serra. This is an action-thriller movie starring Liam Neeson, a genre he’s been prolific in since 2008’s Taken. There’s a pretty good ensemble class here with Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Anson Mount, Lupita Nyong’o, and Shea Whigham to name a few. And the movie is under two hours so it won’t waste too much of your time.

Non-Stop begins with Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) sitting in his car at the airport making himself an Irish coffee. This is to insinuate that he has a drinking problem. He’s also gazing fondly at a photo of a young girl which we later learn is his daughter. Bill boards a plane set for London and ends up seated next to the lovely Jen Summers (Julianne Moore). Bill gets nervous as the plane takes off so Jen holds his hand until they are in the air. Bill tells Jen about the  lucky blue ribbon his daughter gave him. Blah. Blah. Blah.

It’s about this time in the movie that I become suspicious that Bill is hiding something and he is! Bill is the air marshal for the flight. He has a special air marshal blackberry and Bill gets a whopper of a text. The text reads that a passenger will die every twenty minutes unless the killer receives $150 million dollars in a special bank account. Time for panic!

Bill consults the other air marshal on the flight, Jack Hammond (Anson Mount), about the threat, but Jack figures it’s someone playing a prank. He enlists Jen and a flight attendant named Nancy (Michelle Dockery) to watch the security monitor and circle the head of every passenger that may be texting him when Bill texts the killer again. I wonder if an alternate title for this movie was The Texter. Would you go see a movie titled The Texter? No, of course not. You want to watch a movie called Non-Stop because of the promise of non-stop thrills.

Bill gets into a fight with Jack in the airplane bathroom. Turns out Jack is working with the killer for bags of money because being an air marshal is a thankless job or something to that effect. He offers to cut him in, but Bill refuses. A tussle in the bathroom results in Jack’s neck getting broken. Bill didn’t want to kill Jack, but he had a gun pointed at him.

The authorities on the ground relieve Bill of his air marshal authority when they discover the bank account the money is to be transferred into is in Bill’s name! He’s being set up! Time is running out as the texter promises to kill a passenger every twenty minutes until he gets the money. I sure hope the next victim isn’t the pilot. The stakes keep escalating as the movie runs along. There’s a suitcase full of cocaine that is also concealing a bomb, but I better shut up now before I spoil the twists at the end. I was yelling at the screen when I found out who the killer was.  Unfortunately, there is no scene of Liam Neeson angrily punching the killer into the plane’s engine. Oh, well.

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477, episode 491, episode 492, episode 493, episode 495, and episode 496) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.

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