Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Non-Stop
It has become almost a yearly ritual for there to be a Liam Neeson action film coming out early in the year. This year, it was Non-Stop. How does it compare to other such Liam Neeson action films? Is the Blu-ray worth picking up?
We first see Bill Marks drinking in his car before heading to work. He's an air marshal, which is not the best profession for an alcoholic. For most of the first ten minutes or so we see Bill and several of the passengers and crew come aboard the plane. I'm not going to mention any of them to avoid spoilers. If I mentioned all of them, then the plot summary would be way too long. And if I narrowed the list of passengers down, then I would be giving away too many details by omission. By ignoring red herrings, I would limit the list of potential bad guys.
As for the bad guy... about 15 minutes into the flight, Bill Marks gets a text on his secure cell phone asking him if he is ready to do his duty. After a couple of messages, the texter tells Bill that in exactly 20 minutes he will kill someone on this plane, unless he gets $150 million. And this mystery-texter will continue to kill one person every 20 minutes until they get the money.
That's the setup and that's pretty much as far as we can go before we run into spoilers.
Given the film's reviews, I wasn't expecting too much in terms of quality, but I was drawn in more than I thought I would. Non-Stop is a locked-room mystery where we are expected to try and figure out not only who the killer is, but how the killer is able to kill without being discovered in a confined space like an airplane. There are also more than a few action scenes that are also well-staged given the confines of the airplane. I've said in previous reviews that people typing is one of the least cinematic things you can show in a movie, but this film handles the texting aspect well with text bubbles floating besides the actor as he types. The setup and the execution are strong enough that I was engaged throughout and the final reveal worked, for the most part. (Learning who was behind the texts was excellent, but their motives were less than satisfying.) That said, the motives weren't crazy enough that I disliked the rest of the movie retrospectively.
The only extra on the DVD is Suspense at 40,000 Feet, while the Blu-ray also has Non-Stop Action. Combined, these featurettes are just 13 minutes and not in-depth.
The technical presentation was good, but not great for a first-run release. It wasn't digitally shot, so there's a bit of grain in the image. It's not distracting, but it is also not as clear as it could be. The colors are not as vibrant as I've seen in other movies, but that's because most of the movie takes place in a poor-lit airplane, where colors wouldn't be given a chance to shine. There are no signs of digital manipulation or compression issues, so that's a plus. The audio is better than the video with clear dialogue and lots of activity in the surround sound speakers, especially ambient sounds.
The Blu-ray costs just $20, which is $3 or 18% more than the DVD.
Non-Stop is a better than expected movie with a weaker than expected DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack. The lack of substantial extras is disappointing, but I think this it is worth checking out for most, picking up for many.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2014-06-08