On paper, Non-Stop could easily have been the plot for Taken 3.
Estranged from his family and an alcoholic, Air Marshall Bill Marks (similar in name to Taken's Bryan Mills) must use his particular set of skills to find someone on board his New York to London flight who is threatening to kill a passenger every twenty minutes until they are paid $150 million.
Marks' set of skills include:
However the most valuable skill that Marks requires in this film is the ability to play Guess Who? onboard a crowded plane of 150 passengers.
Who is the hijacker? Do they have a mobile phone? Do they have a moustache? Have they had at least 30 seconds of character development? Are they played by an actor you kind of recognise from that thing? Is it "Angry Cop", "Racial Profiling Islamic Doctor" or "Oscar-nominated Air Stewardess"?
The fun is in the guessing and the script does a good job of keeping the whodunit mystery going for the majority of its flight-time and the finger of suspicion keeps jumping from passenger to passenger, from business class to coach with even Julianne Moore and Neeson seeming guilty at times.
The ending does jump the ridiculousness factor up a couple of notches once a ticking time bomb enters the mix but certainly nowhere near Snakes On A Plane levels.
Neeson's character retains his Northern Irish roots but thankfully the overall experience of Non-Stop has received an entertainment upgrade from its B-Movie roots to Business Class rather than being stuck for 105 minutes on his native Ryanair.