It may another generic Liam Neeson thriller, but it’s more engaging than you might think.
Liam Neeson is Bill Marks, an air marshal with some frustrating life circumstances, boards his flight just like he does every day. But when he starts receiving threatening texts from an unknown sender on a supposedly secure network, things start to spin out of control. The other air marshal knows nothing of it, and they only have twenty minutes before the stranger threatens to kill someone.
What ensues is a tense, high-energy panic-stricken race against time to find out who on the plane could be responsible, but things take an unexpected turn when the suspicion turns not to a passenger on the plane, but to Bill Marks himself.
As the film progresses, pieces of Bill’s life are unveiled, giving more reason for people to suspect him. We as the audience know that it can’t be him (because he is, you know, Liam Neeson), but the film does a good enough job of it that there’s still a little voice in the back of our heads saying “Could it be him? Would they do that?”
That makes for a great thriller with a surprise waiting around every turn, but it also brings up some interesting questions about trust and, in a sense, forgiveness. There are some aspects of Bill’s life that definitely aren’t right. He’s an alcoholic, he jumps to conclusions about people, and we hear him at the beginning of the film speaking threateningly to a co-worker over the phone. So even though Bill is good at his job, these facts allow others to believe he could be capable of something which we as spectators see little or no reason for. That may seem difficult to believe at first, especially when Bill’s boss starts buying into it, but that might be the point.
How often do we, even being Christians, jump to conclusions about people and accuse them of being capable of something that we may not have true reason to believe, being guided largely by blind emotion?
But even more than that, there’s a lesson to be learned in Bill Marks himself. It would seem that his best bet would be to simply give up, since he’ll likely be facing criminal charges even if he does the right thing. But he does it anyway, regardless of the consequences. This is reminiscent of several Biblical stories. It reminds me of Ebed-Melech in Jeremiah 38, who confronts the evil king Zedekiah for having imprisoned Jeremiah and left him to die. He also did the right thing, even though it likely would have gotten him killed.
There is plenty of action to keep you entertained, whether or not you’re a big Liam Neeson fan. It doesn’t have the deepest plot development you can find, but it has a lot of action, and Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore each do a phenomenal job in their respective parts. That, with these ideas makes it worth watching.
But with that said, it’s not worth watching by much. It’s got some good ideas here to be sure, but you have to look pretty hard to find them. It is, on its surface, another shallow action-thriller, and while there are some ideas worth exploring, they are most likely on accident. So it’s one worth renting from RedBox, but not much more than that.
This review was originally posted on Let There Be Movies.