IMDB Score – 7.1
Rotten Tomato Score – 60%
Directed By – Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring – Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Nate Parker, Corey Stoll, and Lupita Nyong’o
An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.
Back when I was working at the theater, I had an employee whose movie opinion I was constantly frustrated with but at the same time respected. He loved films I hated and hated films I loved, but always explained his reasoning with sound logic. When this film came out I was convinced it was going to just be another vehicle for Liam Neeson to be a badass and fuck up bad guys. I knew it wasn’t going to be like “The Grey” which was one of the better winter releases of the last couple years. I expected something along the lines of Taken 2 meets Red Eye. My friend lauded the tense build up and reveal being unexpected. Well, he one of those two things correct and one entirely wrong. The latter ended up ruining the entire film for me.
The synopsis above pretty much sums up the plot. Liam Neeson plays an alcoholic air marshall who has zero people skills unless it involves making little girls happy. Julianne Moore literally plays one of the most useless characters I’ve ever seen on film. He character was not needed in ANYTHING. She served no purpose to the plot other than to shift the suspicion from time to time and to be a person Liam Neeson has to save. Julianne Moore is completely wasted in this movie. In fact, the whole cast is pretty much wasted besides Neeson, who still wasn’t that great. Lupita Nyong’o, who won a fucking Oscar, has maybe three or four speaking lines in the entire film, and the ones she has are lines that could have been given by anybody. It’s just really strange how misused the entire cast was.
Despite the cast, the first half of the movie was actually pretty damn engaging and creative. The use of the text messaging, while annoying to most, actually didn’t bother me that much. I was intrigued by how this person was killing people and still being able to text while doing so. Is it stupid? Hell yeah it is, but I was still sucked into figuring it out. The 180 that both the trailer and the synopsis spoils made for some interesting plot devices and I actually wanted to know how Liam Neeson was going to get out of it.
Then the final third started to happen. We start to learn who the real criminal is and I was lost. It was such a disappointment when the big shocker of a twist happens and all I could think was “Really?”. The action in the last third was completely bonkers and the whole problem with the cast came into full play because I didn’t care about anybody anymore. It ruined the whole film for me.
There were ultimately some good techniques used in the first half of the film. The end and the fact that none of the characters had any depth save for Liam Neeson and you really start to lose your audience. It ended up being an average film with a shit ending. I wouldn’t waste your time unless it’s on cable and you have nothing better to do.