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Non-Review Review: Non-Stop

At its best, Non-Stop evokes one of those mid-nineties high-tension high-altitude thrillers – movies about various crises unfolding on a plane, with a questionable hero wading in to help save the day. There’s a decidedly pulpy aspect to Non-Stop, as the film revels in the absurdity of its set-up and the contrived planning of the movie’s would-be skyjacker/ransomer. Those looking for a tightly-plotted thriller that withstands any level of critical thought would be best served to look elsewhere, but that’s entirely the point. Non-Stop basks in its minute-to-minute thrills, which it delivers with just enough consistency to maintain momentum.

The movie runs into problems though. Running to almost two hours, it’s impossible for the film to maintain the necessary level of tension for such an extended period. One sense that twenty minutes might have easily been trimmed from the film and tightened up the pacing a bit – after all, it’s not as if the plot hangs together particularly tightly as is. Non-Stop also runs into difficulties when it is forced to confront the fact that it is not – despite its best intentions – a hijacking movie from the mid-nineties. For better or worse, Non-Stop is set in the wake on 9/11, and the movie’s attempts to acknowledge that can’t help but feel a little forced.

Non-Stop is hardly an exceptional little thriller, but Neeson anchors it well and the movie often feels like an affectionately pulpy throwback to much more exciting skyjacking films.

Cabin fever...

Cabin fever…

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Non-Review Review: Taken 2

Taken 2 doesn’t pack quite the wallop of its predecessor. The original was a fairly standard action movie, elevated by a relatively lean and focused story, driven by a surprisingly effective Liam Neeson. Neeson is back for Taken 2, and he remains the best thing about the sequel. However, the film lacks the focused intensity of its predecessor. Much like its protagonist, the first film was almost single-minded in pursuit of its goal. This time around, there’s a lot more grizzle on the bone. Most of that comes from the decision to expand the world around Bryan Mills. While the movie works efficiently when Mills is driving the plot, it suffers from its decision to saddle him with more of his family this time around, with both the movie and the character almost weighed down.

Okay, which bright spark thought this was a good idea?

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