By Bob Garver
It’s been over a year since Liam Neeson has starred in a bad action movie. “Non-Stop” is the end to this drought. Pass the time on this one by playing some Popcorn Games:
-Neeson plays a Federal Air Marshal, a government agent who acts as undercover security on commercial flights. Eat a piece of popcorn every time he casually does something that should get him fired for irresponsible personal behavior. Examples include drinking, smoking in the plane’s restroom and being afraid of flying.
-Neeson is informed via anonymous text from an unknown passenger that someone on the plane will be murdered every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred to an untraceable account. Eat two pieces of popcorn every time he does something that should get him fired for mishandling the situation. Examples include not turning the plane around immediately and instilling panic in the passengers.
-Eat three pieces of popcorn every time Neeson does something that should get him fired, but establishes him as a hot-blooded rebel who plays by his own rules. Eat four pieces if breaking protocol actually gets results.
-Eat a piece of popcorn as you try to guess who the first victim will be. Eat a piece of popcorn if you’re right. Do so again as the stage is set for subsequent murders. Also, try to guess the methods and circumstances of the murders and eat three pieces if you’re right about those. I think in a few cases you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the film’s creativity.
-Neeson sits next to a passenger played by Julianne Moore. Eat a piece of popcorn every time she’s given elaborate dialogue that was clearly written so the role would seem deeper than it is, thus tricking a big name actress into taking it.
-Eat one piece of popcorn the first time you see someone with a gun on the airplane. Eat two pieces the second time you see it, three times the third and so on. The film is trying to build suspense around the gun, which it knows can’t be fired until the last minute because of the inevitable depressurization.
-Once Neeson starts interrogating passengers, eat a piece of popcorn every time someone complains about him violating their rights. Eat another piece if they demand to know what’s really going on. Eat two pieces every time someone is an uncooperative smart-aleck and Neeson puts them in their place.
-Eat a piece of popcorn every time someone takes a turn at being the prime suspect. Again, eat two pieces when suspicion falls on them a second time, three pieces the third time, etc.
-Eat a piece of popcorn every time the passengers suspect that Neeson is a hijacker. Eat two pieces if you suspect Neeson of being the villain. Eat three pieces if you think that Neeson is going so crazy that he’s starting to suspect himself. Eat four pieces if you think the film is going to go with some really cheap twist like split personalities.
-Recent Academy Award winner Luptia Nyong’o has a small part as a flight attendant. Eat a piece of popcorn every time she’s onscreen. Eat two pieces every time you wonder why she isn’t being given more to do. Eat three pieces if you suspect that she’s the villain and she’ll have a lot to do at the very end.
-Once the motivation behind the threat is revealed, eat a hundred pieces of popcorn if you can make any sense of it. I seriously doubt that you’ll have to count to a hundred.
-If you have any popcorn left after the movie, go out and look at the theater’s marquee. Eat a piece of popcorn for every option you had that was probably a better choice than “Non-Stop.” It should be most of them.
One and a Half Stars out of Five.
“Non-Stop” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some language, sensuality and drug references. Its running time is 106 minutes.
Contact Bob Garver at firstname.lastname@example.org.