Passenger 57, Neeson-style
Non-Stop Blu-ray Review
I'm not sure what film everybody else was watching, but there's nothing terribly wrong with Non-Stop.It offers a competent premise and, whilst it doesn't fully capitalise on the potential for escalating tension, it does deliver its fair share of thrills, as we watch Liam Neeson's haggard Air Marshall struggle to contain the increasing panic aboard a treacherous flight, deal with troublesome passengers and potential threats, and face mistrust from his superiors on the ground.
The end result is a perfectly serviceable action thriller which boasts a few nice fight sequences, claustrophobically framed within the tight confines of the aircraft. It's not particularly clever, but it is sharply paced and succinct in its dissemination of the plot breadcrumbs, keeping you invested if only because you want to know who the hell is orchestrating this chaos.Sure, it may be a familiar, paint-by-numbers thriller by today's standards, but it would have been an R-rated hit at the Box Office in the early nineties as a vehicle for someone like Seagal (think: Under Siege 3), and, realistically, the reinvented Neeson action man figure is plan B answer to the Snipes, Stallones, Schwarzeneggers and Seagals of yesteryear. Plan A being: Statham.
Perhaps many were expecting another Taken, but a big part of why Taken’s success hasn't been replicated is to do with ratings; none of Neeson's subsequent actioners have been R-rated, not just in terms of swearing and violence, but actual tone. Just be grateful that this wasn't another Taken 2 debacle; which was a distinct possibility considering that it marks the inauspicious reunion of Neeson and the director he worked with on the unremarkable Unknown.
Non-Stop may not rise to lofty, memorable heights, but it still offers an entertaining ride.
Non-Stop Blu-ray Picture QualityNon-Stop crash-lands on Blu-ray complete with an impressive and largely faithful 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Stylistically aiming for a marginally grittier affair, this is still a largely slick-looking production, but, either way, the presentation remains faithful to the theatrical vision.
Bursting through cloud-cover with a demo-worthy presentation, Non-Stop looks excellent in High Definition.
Precision detail is evident throughout, with excellent close-ups showing up fine object detail, skin textures, clothing weaves and background touches all popping with clarity, and with no signs of any unpleasant edge enhancement or excessive DNR application, nor any other intrusive digital defects. The colour scheme is broad and vibrant, limited only by the bathed-in-cool-cabin-blue setting, but still given scope through some later daylight scenes. External shots and the breadth of strong primaries on offer which, coupled with the healthy skin tones and solid blacks – which do, admittedly, border on having crush issues, although this is largely forgivable – leave this an impressive presentation that easily nudges into demo territory and is only a few steps away from reference perfection.
Non-Stop Blu-ray Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track does an impressive job at rendering the largely immersive audio element with strong lossless potency. Although more thriller than action-based, a healthy atmosphere of palpable tension is disseminated upon you, transforming your living room into a veritably claustrophobic airplane cabin.
Brimming with engaging ambient tics and exciting bursts of action, Non-Stop also sounds excellent on Blu-ray.
Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, from whispers to shouts, delivered largely through the fronts and centre channels. Effects are myriad, taking you not only on board this flight, but also into the air, as cabin beeps and creaks pervade whilst sporadic turbulence pummels the plane from the outside. The score keeps the pace moving throughout the piece, and further helps to maintain the tension, bringing with it some superb LFE undertones. But it’s the more punchy moments; the outbursts of violence coupled with the more thunderous bouts of turbulence, which will really shake you up. Precise and potent, this is a demo track through and through and, again, just shy of reference perfection.
Non-Stop Blu-ray ExtrasMatching up to its US counterpart, the Extras are a little light, with two brief and fluffy Featurettes – Suspense at 40,000 Feet and Non-Stop Action, running at 8 and 5 minutes respectively, and adding little background to the production, whilst a series of Cast and Crew Interviews allow the likes of actors Neeson, Moore and Michelle Dockery, as well as Producer Joel Silver and the Director, to have their say. There are also some Preview Trailers on startup.
Is Non-Stop Blu-ray Worth BuyingAdmittedly Non-Stop struggles hard to stand out from the crowd, and its plot holes won't survive anything more than a cursory glance, but it's still a thoroughly unobjectionable, frequently entertaining feature, weaving enough mystery into the in-flight shenanigans to sustain interest between its tense exchanges, and once again relying on the broad shoulders of Neeson to carry its weight through to its final destination.
Amidst the small niche group of aircraft-based action thrillers, like Passenger 57 and Executive Decision, Non-Stop sits proudly, acting like the nineties never ended.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get excellent video and audio as well as a smattering of Extras, leaving this an impressive purchase for fans of the film, and a decent enough rental for those interested in the latest action-thriller from Neeson.
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