Liam Neeson works as an action star because he’s always the best thing in his action movies. Sometimes he gets lucky and the story holds up or the action is well-handled, but time and time again he’s managed to lift an otherwise average project to a higher level with his gruff-bordering-on-comedic charm and totally commitment to whatever unlikely story he happens to be found in. Which is good news, because it means that when he does get a decent project – such as this one – the end result is a film that really is worth your time.
Bill Marks (Neeson) is a burnout drunk who just happens to be an air marshal, so when he starts getting weird text messages on a trans-Atlantic flight about someone dying every 20 minutes unless $150 million is put into a bank account, at first he thinks someone’s trying to test him. Nuh-uh. We’re all used to this kind of thriller starting off with a great idea that rapidly falls apart, but this one manages to hold it together a lot longer than usual, with the initial death both making sense and putting Marks in a very tricky situation, and the ones that follow only serving to make matters worse.
Partly a whodunit where Marks’ suspicion logically falls on just about everyone at some stage, partly a ticking clock thriller as the body count climbs and Marks loses the trust of just about everyone around him, this is a surprisingly satisfying thriller that only falters slightly right at the end – and by then the whole situation is dire enough that it doesn’t really matter.
Neeson has slightly more to work with than usual for this kind of film as a harried and occasionally paranoid cop, while Julianne Moore as a (suspiciously?) helpful passenger seems to be having fun just being in this kind of film. This is only coming to cinemas because Neeson has drawing power: so long as he keeps making B-movies this good, he’ll keep drawing audiences back.
Written by Anthony Morris