US Federal Air Marshall, Bill Marks (Neeson) has a drink problem and although he seems to be a functioning alcoholic he is put to the test when he receives a text on a secure network threatening to kill a person every twenty minutes on board his aircraft. How these people have access to this secure network he does not know, but they want $150 million and if they don’t get it people will die. Marks has no choice but to act accordingly and ensure the safety of those on board, but one of them is a killer and he must find out who through any means necessary.
You would think that putting Liam Neeson on an airplane and making him an Air Marshall would sound like a good idea, but if the appallingly bad Flight Plan (Jodie Foster) proved anything it’s that airplanes never really work as a setting no matter how good you think it might be. Liam Neeson has been catapulted into action-actor zone by his appearance in the semi decent Taken (2008) but he is not an action star and he is not good in this. He has that hard as nails 1000-yard stare thing going on, but that is about it.
Continuing the bad news; the lazy effort at back-story, alcoholic with a broken marriage, is unimaginative and his fellow Air Marshall’s behaviour is ridiculous in the extreme. The development of supposed tension is also laughable as exchanged glances are made out to be important in order to throw you off. It is poorly written, poorly acted and poorly directed and features some of the most questionable science in aeronautical-movie history. Why Hollywood never bothers its arse to engage with competent aviation professionals in movie development continues to defy logic and although it is not the worst element of this sham it definitely doesn’t help.
An absolute failure in every sense there are much better ways to spend 106 minutes. Start by punching yourself in the face and work from there.