3 Days to Kill (2014)

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Director: McG

Writers: Adi Hasak, Luc Besson

Starring: Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld, Connie Nielsen

Rating: ★★

3 Days to Kill, which got its UK released over the weekend, didn’t make the explosive impact it aimed to have despite a well-known cast and crew. Writer Luc Besson who contributed greatly to both the Transporter and Taken franchises, alongside McG a well-known TV director made up a well-supported personnel which also included an aging Kevin Costner. The film follows a very stereotyped action-genre, and whilst being completely predictable, its balance of action and drama was misjudged and left for a very dull running time which seemed to be further dragged from some poor comedy attempts and characters.

Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is a life-time international spy, earning high stakes for killing dangerous men; however he is matched with a bigger fight when he is told a terminal illness means he has a maximum of three months to live. Retiring from the CIA he decides to reunite with his estranged wife and daughter (Connie Nielsen, Hailee Steinfeld) in an attempt to build a closer relationship before it’s too late. However he is roped into doing one last mission, finishing off his previous assignments by hunting down the world’s most ruthless terrorist with the prize of obtaining a possible cure for his illness, but trying to rekindle a connection with his teenage daughter could be his toughest test after he is left to look after her for three days for the first time in ten years whilst his wife is out of town.

3 Days to Kill is a film we’ve all seen time and time before, and if I’m honest we will probably see another one just like it in a few more months’ time. If it had a simple premise it would be Die Hard meets Taken with hints of Big Daddy, and the latter simply puts the nail in the coffin and says it all. Costner’s Ethan is very much based on Liam Neeson’s famous Taken protagonist, and no surprise either as the writer of both is involved; a deep husky voice, tough-cookie attitude, a soft spot for his daughter, and a bunch of angry eastern Europeans which get in the way of his fathering nature all make up 3 Days to Kill which is only an iconic “I have a certain set of skills speech” away from being a hidden and lost draft for Taken. It then has classic Die Hard elements, bad Russians, big explosions, crazy stunts all captioned with so very bad comedy lines that only Bruce and Die Hard can get away with, whilst in terms of Big Daddy, Ethan and his daughter, Zooey, have some rather out-of-place one-to-ones of how to ride a bike, deal with bad hair days and boyfriend issues.

It is not only so predictable and somewhat lazy, but for me 3 Days a Kill has a really misplaced story highlighted by a very bad balance between fast-paced action and slow-burning drama. It seems to be a classical action release as we ease into the opening half-hour, but as we soon move on I was completely lost and was too busy focusing on Ethan and Zooey having bonding time on some fair-ground swings I forgot completely about the mission to kill this so-called lethal terrorist. If I’m honest I also think Ethan himself got confused as only an occasional frisky meeting with his boss in a strip club interrupted his usual bike riding, dancing and hot chocolate drinking routine. When the predictable and overused link brought both plots back into one for the final sequences, a really anticlimactic final sequence unravelled, which left more questions than it did answers.

Kevin Costner’s only fault was that he wasn’t Liam Neeson, for a role which was obviously based on the Irishmen; however Costner was great and deserves a lot of credit; he played a very good mix between a hard cold hitman, to the not so hard comedy dad. The rest of the cast however were not poor but neither great; whilst Amber Heard who played Ethan’s boss “Vivi” although executing her character well, was by far the most annoyingly written character I have witnessed in a long while as she attempted to play a cool, cold, and brutal woman.

McG direction was nothing too stand-out, however the few action scenes that did occur were handled well whilst the effects on Ethan’s hallucinations was the only other highlight. 3 Days to Kill wasn’t helped either by its soundtrack which apart from a funny inclusion, (well the first few times at least) of a certain teenage ringtone, was largely out of place although of course, that does match the story.

I guess for me 3 Days to Kill was largely disappointing, it achieves it aims very well, becoming a very template action film with a more drama-like story, however it just wasn’t what I wanted, and for me what I wanted was some much needed change to this tired genre. Although you could label writer Luc Besson as slightly lazy, the cast and crew are no more than good. I suppose 3 Days to Kill is something which needs to be taken with a light-hearted approach so that it can be enjoyed, despite being fairly entertaining and having its fun moments, It wasn’t to my liking and something I won’t be going back to for a second viewing, unless it’s to warn everyone else off.

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22 Jump Street (2014)

Genre: Comedy, Action, Crime

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Writers: Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel, Rodney Rothman, Michael Bacall, Jonah Hill, Patrick Hasburgh, Stephen J. Cannell

Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube

Rating:★★★★

22 Jump Street was a release I was anticipating after enjoying it’s refreshing and hilarious prequel, 21 Jump Street, however there was a part of me which was nervous, a degree of doubt crept in telling me that this was going to be a sequel which shames all what came before it, however I was wrong. A very post-modern comedy, one which doesn’t take it self seriously, recognises its potential flaws and mocks them until they turn into positives is exactly what this film achieves and is about. A bro-mance relationship between duo Tatum and Hill once again provided wonders, whilst the many writers and the duo directors provided the genius touch to make 22 Jump Street a laugh-out-loud, entertaining comedy rollercoaster which is definitely worth seeing.

At the end of the 2012 hit, 21 Jump Street, Ice Cube’s Captain Dickson barks “This time, you’re going to college” and that’s exactly what 22 Jump Street revolves around. The film starts with a “previously on…” flashback which reminds us what we loved so much about its prequel whilst also mocking how the film has been based on a TV series, in which becomes the first of many references which laughs at and mocks itself.

Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) once again fail to be real policemen on real cases, and since they look far too old to go back to high-school they find themselves at college doing the same mission, in the same way, all over again; find the drug dealer, find the drugs; stop the drugs, “save kids’ lives”.  As they join MC State College it soon appears how Jenko seems to fit in more than Schmidt once again putting pressure on their partnership, just as we’ve seen before. However this time it’s different, there are no rules or boundaries, ink-squirting octopuses and amazingly bad Mexican accents. Jenko becomes a football-hero jock whilst Schmidt becomes an art-geek but as they seem to be running in circles with the case and they are at risk of failing as their budget runs low, both their relationship and the case seems stronger than ever.

The thing which makes 22 Jump Street stand out for me is its ability to mock itself but at the same time make it a real positive by being very funny. Watching an interview with Tatum and Hill it seemed clear that this was their aim, to create a film which notices how bad it could be and how bad other films are. In one scene Jenko having a conversation with Captain Dickson says, “So you’re telling me, it’s going to be exactly the same as before but cost twice as much?”, referencing the film itself something I couldn’t help but laugh at. Schmidt when walking into the new office says “wow, this building like a big cool cube of Ice” whilst directly speaking to Ice Cube himself, whilst the extra-added special ending (which I won’t ruin) sums up the brilliance, wit and light-hearted approach taken by the directors and host of writers.

The comedy which this film brings is great, matching its prequel which I was really impressed and pleased by. The opening sequence, which will be familiar from the trailer, kicks things off with a big comedy bang, whilst 22 Jump Street then continues with a host of other hilarious scenes, one of my favourites being Ice Cube’s shock realisation. Although not always being greatly funny, I feel there was always something to laugh at in each scene and even each frame but it felt very natural and flowing, something adding to the viewing experience. Lacking the refreshing element which was found before, is replaced by the self-reflection and mockery, whilst Ice Cube seemed to play a much more prominent role and the constant references to its prequel tied-together a well-written and comedic screenplay.

Channing Tatum’s and Jonah Hill’s relationship within the film is fantastic and completely natural, being one of If not the, best comedy relationships I’ve seen in a while really adding again to the overall greatness of 22 Jump Street. Ice Cube’s greater involvement as mentioned added something funnier and different, whilst the other characters all seemed to slot and fit in well.

There was so much to love about 22 Jump Street but it did have some flaws and annoying elements that brought it down a notch or two. Some scenes seemed overly long or dragged-out, not with the comedy but with touchy scenes meant to be a bit more serious, however I just wanted it to end and move back onto the funnier stuff. The character of Mercedes, a key role in the case, was completely annoying and frustrating, with annoying dialogue, actions and even facial expression, making a really hate-filled character.

22 Jump Street is a film which needs to be seen for a really fun-filled laughing experience which almost everyone can enjoy and relate to in some aspects. Everything which was successful with 21 Jump Street was transferred and reflected here, self-mockery, great writing, acting and overall comedy makes for a hard to hate comedy release which I couldn’t help but enjoy.

“We Jump Street, and we ’bout to jump in yo ass.  Jenko: Mmmm-hmmm. Schmidt: Right in the crack.” It’s a Must-See.

 

 

21 Jump Street (2012)

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Writers: Jonah Hill, Michael Bacall, Patrick Hasburgh, Stephen J. Cannell

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube

Rating:★★★★

In the light of the fast approaching release of its sequel 22 Jump Street, I revisited a film which I will never tire from; the brilliant, funny and refreshing comedy 21 Jump Street. Originally a TV series, Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall adapt the 80’s hit show, which starred a young Jonny Depp, into a new and refreshing comedy which brings laughs and action together as well as touching on something a little deeper.

Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) are both newly graduated police officers and bicycle riding partners; however the two actually went to school with each other but were far from partners back in the day. Schmidt was a typical unpopular dork and had an uncanny resemblance to Slim Shady; Jenko was the polar opposite, a popular jock who everyone chased after. Since they are young, and look like high school students along with their inability to be police officers they are both assigned to an undercover unit where they have to infiltrate a drug ring that seems to be at the heart of a high school, supplying the student’s synthetic and dangerous drugs. As Jenko and Schmidt go back to high school as undercover officers it brings comedy, but from a lot of angles and perspectives. The obvious comedy comes from Jenko and Schmidt attempting to fit in within high school, despite them both appearing older with even the science teacher fancying Jenko, the pair go on the throw a party, attend prom and take part in the school play of Peter Pan however the real humour is achieved elsewhere for me. School has changed greatly since Jenko and Schmidt   have become officers, however this is of course a real life portrayal of school too, as the pair attempt to fit in on their first day they realise everything is the opposite. There are more than the typical jocks, nerds and goths; the “cool-guy” Eric (Dave Franco) is an eco-warrior and cares for Mother Nature, fast cars aren’t popular and either is not trying and acting “cool”, this for me was hilarious, due to me being a student I could make these comparisons and laugh with our protagonists as they realised the changes. The film portrays this idea well, and uses it cleverly; Jenko who was the popular guy is now a dork whilst Schmidt is enjoying life being the popular and fun kid and of course this will set up a conflict. The acting was great, Jonah Hill for me is an underrated actor and is a really talented guy, and he can take on serious roles but is also brilliant when it comes to delivering comedy. Hill as Schmidt was great; his high school tantrums were a highlight along with the flashbacks of slim shady and his attempt of fighting. Tatum as Jenko was good, even the fact that Tatum was casted as Jenko brings humour as we wold expect him to be popular and seeing him take on a somewhat dork role was great. A real highlight was his attempt to “fuck-up” science, and in particular potassium nitrate. As well as the portrayals were of our main characters, the writers deserve a huge amount of credit for creating such humour and fun with them alongside some brilliant side characters and constant hilarious scenes.

When watching a comedy you always want big moments and big laughs, 21 Jump Street gives you just that. The most memorable from the whole film for me is when Jenko and Schmidt take the drugs which they are trying to infiltrate, the side-effect and resulting hallucinations are hilarious as their sports teacher turns into a talking ice-cream and the pair try to “finger fuck” each other’s throat to throw it up. It’s hard to fault 21 Jump Street; however I do feel at times the story goes a bit dry whilst the ending try to combine “silly” humour and it didn’t compliment the film at all. However for me 21 Jump Street is still a film I won’t get bored or watching and it will never fail to bring laughs.

21 Jump Street is a refreshing comedy, with a nice idea and a well written story which displays a range of humour which is suitable for all types of audiences. Each and every character is brilliant alongside the performances from the well-known and talented cast. I can only hope that the soon to be released sequel, 22 Jump Street, which sees Jenko and Schmidt go onto an undercover college mission, follows and reflects it’s original. Lots of laughs and easy to watch 21 Jump Street is definitely a memorable and great comedy.

(3D) Pompeii (2014)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Writers: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler, Michael Robert Johnson

Starring: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland

Rating:★★½

Pompeii, the ancient and historic city destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D, and now a blockbuster disaster film adaption which cost more than more than $100million, a huge sum of money most definitely wasted. Pompeii looked be a very good action release focusing on the historic events; however what was achieved was a mixture between very bad marketing, execution and disappointment, despite some promising potential.

Milo (Kit Harington) as a young boy was left to witness his fellow people, friends, and family killed and beheaded by the invading and domineering Romans. Now he is a slave turned invincible gladiator, used for entertainment by those very romans he witnessed as a kid. Milo now fighting within Pompeii, as the romans visit the small coastal town, finds himself in a love affair with Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of the wealthy leader of Pompeii and the man getting involved with the corrupt Roman Senator who looks to marry his daughter. As Milo battles within the arena and the ever falling Cassia looking on with fear, Mount Vesuvius erupts, causing a huge rumble and shooting lava crashing onto the city of Pompeii. Milo must fight his way out of the arena, save his true love and try and survive Mount Vesuvius eruption as Pompeii crumbles around him.

There is flaw after flaw with Pompeii’s accuracy along with the writing itself, however my main issue is how we seem to have seen this film a thousand times before and it becomes very cliché. Pompeii reminds me very much of Gladiator, however twisted to make Gladiator a romantic drama, as Milo rides horse-back through flames galloping after his new found “true-love” like an old-Victorian love tale. The film is essentially split into two halves, with the first being my preferable favourite as it focuses on Milo being turned from slave to gladiator and defeating competitor after competitor. However after Milo has fought people, he then has to fight Vesuvius as the second half focuses on its destruction of Pompeii.  I must admit, that despite the obvious flaws, Pompeii is filled with action which can be entertaining but I feel there is such poor execution.

The writing of characters was fairly poor with them being very cliché; Milo is somewhat undefeatable, arrogant and energetic however as an audience we seem to like him. Kit Harrington’s portrayal was fairly average, making most of some very cheesy dialogue and scenes, but it was somewhat downgraded by an adopted husky voice which was very Russell Crowe-like, forcing his role a little too much along with being completely inconsistent. Browning’s Cassia was just above annoying, with clumsy and again cheesy scenes, I didn’t think her character was well matched and realistic of the time period either, with it all seeming very modern. Kiefer Sutherland as Senator Corvus and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as fellow gladiator Atticus were for me my standout performers and characters, despite the somewhat dramatic endings they brought powerful displays which produced a positive reaction.

I saw Pompeii in 3D, a rare thing I do as I still think very few films adapt and produce quality 3D effects, taking full advantage of the technology. The effects were definitely no Gravity reflection; there were promising moments of 3D especially within the first scenes, it seemed to surprise me with its selection of moments, with 3D being used on low keys action scenes and not the big finales where I would have expected it to be seen. Pompeii however did show off a high budget with some good visual effects, with explosions and great believable make-up, with one scene being a highlight as the eruption caused a tsunami and the city of Pompeii is flooded completely. Paul W.S Anderson despite not creating a completely phenomenal release should be pleased with certain moments and aspects of his directing.

Pompeii for me seemed to be let down hugely by marketing, I was expecting a big blockbuster focusing on the eruption of Vesuvius however that moment didn’t arise within the film until after the half-way mark, something the film highlighted completely within advertisement.  Even when the moment came it was short-lived and neglected something the writers must really be kicking themselves about. Instead I was witnessing a love-story, which was very badly combined with action and fighting resulting in a really cheesy end-product. If I were the writers of this film I would be very annoyed, as for me this had huge potential but only brought disappointment.

It would be fair to say that Pompeii is one of the worst films I’ve seen released this year, but it would be definite to say it is one of the cheesiest. Despite a strong potential story and great visual and action quality, Pompeii offers no more than a generic gladiator story with a combination of romance. Although it may look good, Pompeii really isn’t and it even fails at being a remotely guilty pleasure, I’m sure this is something that won’t go down in the history books.

 

 

 

47 Ronin (2013)

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Director: Carl Rinsch

Writers: Chris Morgan, Hossein Amini, Walter Hamada

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: ★★★

47 Ronin is a film which attempts to take a serious concept and liven it up with fantasy elements to appeal to a wider audience.  It is quite simply an average film, one with much potential, but ultimately I found myself slightly disappointed. The craft is great along with some moments of action, whilst everything else is rather respectable but nothing too special including the return of Keanu Reeves to the world of cinema.

Lord Asano (Min Tanaka) of Ako, a small beautiful Japanese village, is hunting in the forest with his men when they find a young boy, a half-breed between demon and human. Asano sees something special in this boy and takes him home to the castle, where he shall live alongside the samurai. Several years later, the young boy is now a man, his name is Ki (Keanu Reeves) but he’s rejected as a samurai and is labelled as “half-breed”, but his fighting skills are superior to any other, defending the village from beasts. Lord Asano invites the Shogun of Japan (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) to Ako to watch a tournament; however when a witch sabotages his fighter and eventually Asano himself, the shogun demands seppuku (Suicide) on Asano to counterbalance his shameful act. Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) of Nagato is given power over Ako by the Shogun, including all the samurai and the princess. Lord Kira, evil and heartless forbids the samurai from Ako and keeps the princess for himself. The banished samurais, who are now just ronins, realise Kira’s plot and set out alongside the half-breed to seek revenge for their fallen master despite it being against the Shogun’s order.

The concept is simple but strong with the story surrounding revenge and the ronin taking back their land of Ako from Lord Kira, who plotted the bewitching. It has also been seen many times before, with an unapproved man attempting to save a village and to win the princess from an evil master. However 47 Ronin steer away from simple plots and attempt to dive into fantasy worlds and monsters to gain excitement. The idea of huge, witch crafted beasts somewhat ruin a traditional concept of samurais against shoguns and masters.  It lets down the film for me and somewhat made it hard for me to like it, especially considering my appreciation for classic Japanese film such as Seven Samurai, where in other films Ki would be a farmer or a peasant, he is a demon setting-up a mythical setting and film world. The fantasy carries on as witches, ghosts and spirits enter the film. 47 Ronin then attempts to make matters serious by making the acquisition that the story is based on real life events, something I found ridiculous.

The real action, when arriving, takes place as the ronin invade Lord Kira’s Ako, and it is very good with the scenes looking great and the attack and scene being well-thought out and executed. It then sets up two stand-off fights, which bring entertainment which is much needed as the film beforehand seems to stray at some points.

Keanu Reeves portrayal of Ki is good, however like the rest of the cast and their acting it isn’t anything special and if anything at times it felt very stereotyped and cheesy.  The film did thrive from its visuals, although the concept of beasts and witches were somewhat unneeded it is only fair to say that they looked good and the effects were brilliant. The directing was also creditable and a standout, some shots were very awe inspiring especially in the lead up to the battle, whilst the film was occasionally helped by a number of well-timed and executed scenery shots.

47 Ronin isn’t what I was expecting, and I would have hoped it took a more traditional approach towards portraying a Japanese samurai story.  The film itself looked good and the action when appearing, although somewhat less than what was needed, was great and provided good action and entertainment. The story was well shaped and the simple concept was strong, which essentially draws you in as an audience; however the twists were really unnecessary. 47 Ronin isn’t anything special at all and doesn’t deserves much praise but on the other hand it could have been a whole lot worse.

Fight Club (1999)

Genre: Drama

Director: David Fincher

Writers: Chuck Palahniuk, Jim Uhls

Starring: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter

Rating: ★★★★★

Fight Club is something special, a film which is like no others in terms of story, action, characters and the ridiculous detail that has been sweated over to make everything just that extra bit phenomenal. It is a film which amazes you the first time you watch it, and then the second, third, fourth all have the same effect as you start to notice little in-jokes and hidden elements. The writing is great, dialogue beyond great, with the acting, directing and look being completely lovable and “sexy”. Fight Club is definitely a favourite, definitely a classic and definitely a film which deserves every single bit of praise it gets.

Our main focus is Jack (Edward Norton), Jack isn’t his real name, we don’t find out his real name, but will we call him Jack, for Jack sounds better than simply “the narrator”. He is the narrator however, and he tells his story looking back on how he has ended up spitting vowels onto a dirty gun that’s been shoved down his throat. He’s a slave to Ikea, his job and his insomniac mind which will not let him sleep, on the way back from work he arrives to find his condo blazing and his much loved furniture nothing but burnt fragments lying on the floor. He has nothing, everything that he is was in that apartment, and so he rings Tyler (Brad Pitt). Tyler is the most interesting single serving friend Jack has ever met; Tyler sells soap and briefly shared his plane journey with Jack earlier that day and the two meet and Jack stays at Tyler’s house. The lifestyle is different, there is no nice furniture, TV, hot water, yet Jack is happy, he is free. Tyler and Jack create Fight Club, a place where men can be free, where pain is a replacement for fear and violence is a replacement for crying, there is no therapy just fighting. However Fight Club catches on, gets out of control, and soon spirals into Project Mayhem which could spell oblivion, but what it means for Jack is much much more.

Fight Club is mind-blowing in every sense of the word, to tell more of the story is a crime but it withholds one of the greatest plot twists and endings to a film. Jack is a modern-day man; he represents most men, a generation of men which have been raised in a feminist society, but is that right? The film speaks so much, Tyler speaks so much, and when analysed you can see so many ideas and the brilliance behind the concept. The concept of this story is great, two men, Tyler and Jack creating something so simple yet so dangerous and something that is apparently somewhat nature for men. It is much more though than the fighting, Jack and Tyler have a relationship with Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) a lost soul, yet it brings so much excitement and thrill. The story involves humour, everything from the character of ‘Bob’ to fight club homework assignments, then the action with explosions and soap, and finally the mystery, the absolute awe of what has been created and witnessed.

However one of the most likeable aspects of Fight Club is our characters, Jack for starters is just a slave to the world, but what he turns into is very different, rebellious and free we like him and admire him. Tyler is the definition of fun; no-one who sells soap and wears flower suits can be as cool as Tyler. Then Marla, it all starts with Marla, she is witty, and despite neglected she is so important. Brad Pitt is brilliant and so is Edward Norton, they portray their characters flawlessly, Pitt is fun just like Tyler, whilst Norton although more serious is likable and sympathetic just like Jack.

Fight Club is in my opinion the best film Fincher has ever directed and he certainly is remembered for it. The directing is new, and clever, the explosion scene in the condo is a single moment which highlights this alongside the opening title sequence. Fincher creates a dark gloomy look but it complements the exciting characters and story in a strange way. The effects are great, the fighting looks real, the blood looks even more real and the aftermath of “Blondie’s” fight looks brilliant. Everything within Fight Club seems faultless. The score should also be mentioned, its electric feel is needed whilst the end song is somewhat nostalgic to hear, let alone completely complimentary.

Fight Club is unexplainable, once watched more than once your admiration increases. The writing is one of my favourites, from dialogue to the wrapping up of each storyline and plot. The overall product is flawless and there’s no wonder why it is regarded so highly.  It is my favourite performances from both lead actors whilst they are also both of my favourite characters. Fight Club is a classic, and there’s no debating about that.

 

 

 

 

 

Non-Stop (2014)

Genre: Action, Mystery, Thriller

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Writers: John W. Richardson, Ryan Engle, Christopher Roach

Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy

Rating: ★★★★

Non Stop is the latest hard-hitting Liam Neeson action film to hit the screen and despite it feeling a bit like déjà vu, once again it and he impresses reaching high standards. A simple and common film scenario proves to be as intriguing as it is thrilling making for a very fast paced tense experience. Neeson gives a great solid performance and is supported well from the rest of the cast whilst horror fanatic director Collet-Sera changes his ways very well creating an entertaining rollercoaster which seems to achieve more than most typical action releases.

Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is getting ready to board British Aquatlantic Flight 10 to London as an Air Marshal whose main priority is the safety of his passengers.  Whilst mid-air and flying Mark gets a series of threatening texts demanding $150 million, if he fails to make the transaction to the off-shore account every twenty minutes a passenger will die. Marks is enraged and panicked, the sender has hacked into a private network and seems to know things he shouldn’t, such as how Marks was drinking a bottle of whisky in his SUV before he boarded. Marks’s worries are brushed aside by people in charge, but as he realises the hijacker is amongst the passengers he knows he has to keep everyone safe. Timer set and twenty minutes counting down, Marks alongside the very few passengers he trusts attempt to locate the hijacker and get to London safely.

Non Stop uses the very simple element of a countdown to keep us engaged but it works very well creating constant tension, excitement and mostly entertainment.  Although the concept is very basic it was one I thoroughly enjoyed, rarely am I as intrigued by a film especially generic action releases, but it kept me constantly guessing throughout as each individual passenger began to look suspicious.  Neeson’s character was also very good, eventually throughout the film and as situations started to get out of control we began to learn more about Bill Marks the alcoholic Air Marshal with his character becoming very in-depth and developed.  The only fault I can afflict upon Non Stop was its reasoning and references behind why the plane was being hijacked as I found it too on the nose and very un-needed. The most highlighting aspect however how the story was action packed with some excellence scenes, including a matrix mid-air gun catch and dive from Liam Neeson which is one to anticipate.

Liam Neeson more recently and especially after Taken seems to have a habit of playing the same character in films, such as in The Grey, Taken 2 and The Next Three Days, however this is due to his ability to play it so well and somewhat faultlessly.  Once again he portrays Bill Marks extremely well and his somewhat powerful emotional speech near the closing stages was very typical but good. Julianne Moore as Jen Summers was another stand-out amongst a very much faultless supporting cast. Moore’s character of Jen, a trusty passenger on the window seat next to Bill, was likewise in-depth and as an audience we fell for her emotional story as her character developed.  The acting was a real credit to what was some decent writing and especially well-written characters.

Non Stop is spot on when it comes to acting and overall writing. It also flourishes due to its pace which is no doubt down to Collet-Sera who usually focuses on making tense fast paced horrors. Collet-Sera’s direction really adds to the tension and thrills of Non Stop which again engages the audience. The film however doesn’t really evolve too much with effects or visual awe with most of it being very safe and average. The end scene too I felt wasn’t executed to its full potential in which should have been the climax to the whole entire film and the big wow factor whereas Bill Marks’s matrix dive and gun catch stole the part.

Although what seemed to be a typical action release Non Stop proved to be well above expectation and turned into a thrilling, exciting hour and half of entertainment. Although there are some small flaws, it shouldn’t down what is a well-made and thought about release which shows great acting and writing including Liam Neeson at what he does best. Non Stop is easily watchable and one of the most exciting and worthwhile action films in recent years.