★★☆☆☆Competing for the record number of red herrings in a single motion picture, Non-Stop (2013) initially teases ninety minutes of high-concept fun, but quickly gets bogged down in a mire of tired clichés, laboured characters and distracting plot-holes. A huge waste of star Liam Neeson, Jaume Collet-Serra's airborne whodunit is reminiscent of the kind of disposable cinematic fodder so often churned out during the late-nineties. Neeson plays Bill Marks, an ex-cop turned ostracised US Federal Air Marshal who is first introduced sat in his car, sloshing whisky into a coffee cup and delicately stroking the photo of his late daughter (he may as well be holding up a placard inscribed with 'tortured hero').
All the while, Collet-Serra's film manages to keep a straight face, when it should be letting out the occasion wink or two. A vague grab at post-911 paranoia fails to offer any kind of weight, and it's up to a largely wasted cast - which includes Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery and Scoot McNairy - to help fill in the blanks. Recent Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) is given nothing to work with here, and the main perpetrator can be spotted a mile off (a word of advice to any budding filmmakers: alarm bells may ring with an audience when you cast an accomplished character actor in a 'minor' role). Ultimately, Non-Stop is a harmless B-picture and may go down much easier with several beers and a takeaway on a Saturday night, but given the talent involved it could have been so much better.