Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: Nervous fliers, whatever you do, do not board British Air Atlantic Flight 10 non-stop to London! Oops, too late. This advice was ignored by a haggard, middle-aged federal air marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson), and boy was he sorry. Just before boarding, the frequent flier marshal needs a few belts of booze to steady himself for another long flight. After take-off and folks settle in for the long flight, marshal Marks goes into the rest room and puts tape over the fire alarm vents so he can fire up a Bilson cigarette (great, now butt fiends getting on planes will be lugging on rolls of duct tape). The marshal checks in on his secret federal telephone system, and types that all is well.
But wait! Soon Marks get an unexpected message on his federal cell phone with a threat that someone will die in 20 minutes! Surely the airline food is not that bad! What follows is a deadly cat and mouse game between a person or persons unknown, and an increasingly desperate federal air marshal looking to find the culprit who is able to send messages to his “secure” phone with impunity. Without giving much away, demands are made to the authorities, and people die. The tension slowly and continuously ratchets up as the passengers become aware there is something seriously wrong on their flight, and the authority figures make increasingly desperate moves to resolve the situation. Movie fans who like tense movie thrillers will like this movie; it definitely holds your attention.
Other players of note in this film are Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson’s seat neighbor on the plane. Michelle Dockery is a hard working flight attendant and confidant of Bill Marks. Anson Mount is jack Hammond, a second federal air marshal on the flight, and Linus Roache is the captain of Flight 10. I liked the film for what it was, a thriller that keeps you guessing about who is behind the mischief, and why. The ending was a bit of a disappointment. When you find out the “why”, it seems rather lame. The writers needed to tie things up neat and tidy, and they rush it past the viewers as quickly as possible.
Huh? What the …: Okay, enough with the technology geniuses who can make like MacGiver and penetrate a super encrypted federal communication system with their cell phone. Sigh, we have to buy into it to make the movie work. But then we also have to buy into the notion that none of the passengers or crew spot the bad guy sending all these messages, even though they’re sitting right next to them. People, pay attention!
Hey, no food or beverage service on this flight during the entire movie. See if anyone flies on this crappy airline again!
Actress to Watch: Oscar nominated Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) has a small role as a flight attendant. A shame she didn’t have a meatier part in the film.
Dialogue Nugget: Understatement of the year. A passenger pulls up the shade on his window seat to see a fighter plane just off the wing tip of the aircraft and says, “That’s not good”!