Why we need action films and why Non-Stop needs to be watched

I would never want to be an action film, I mean why would I want to provide you with fulfilling entertainment (wholesome, as it is said in some parts of India) and be trashed for being something which I am obviously not.

Action films are the go-to mistress in the time of distress for all of mankind, they just don’t realise it, even if they do, and they hide it. They come up with calculative and dull phrases like “time pass, just an action film” even after exiting a theatre soaking in positive adrenalin.

They even expect subtlety!

Disgraceful humans, introspect!

The action films can be categorised broadly into two: the mindful and the mindless. It is healthy to expect a mixture of both kinds, but even the average knowing movie goer who relishes such a film hides his happiness. The action movie nerd is the gender counterpart to the rom-com swallowing movie nerd, the fate of these films forever drowned in the reputation of stereotypes.

But then not all action movies warrant a critical appreciation na? They are after all action films, designed meticulously to provide some kind (or similar kind) of entertainment. It can be said that the simplicity that goes behind in the thinking of an action film, does not deserve it to be analysed in depth.

<Or so, you think>

First, the action film is like the canopy of an ever growing banyan tree, it is extremely accommodative, and thus willing to forgo any existence of its own, it combines itself with sister genres and to come out with tags like: action-thriller, spy-thriller, romantic-action-thriller, martial-art etc. The word thriller of course is the key; it is used by action films which use the action film formula but doesn’t want to be associated with it.

Generally there is very little to be thrilled about these films, except of course the action.

Non-Stop arrived into theatres sometime back; it is in continuance with post-Taken Liam Neeson filmography, at least in the characterisation of its lead actor (Neeson plays Bill Marks, a Federal Air Marshal on a mission or forced into one).

Non-Stop again calls itself a thriller, which it is; but going by our classification it is a ‘mindful’ action film and a very good one at that. Critics have already found it similar to at least two Hitchcock films.

It is Hithcockian in its constricted setting: a plane. The entire film takes place on a flight between New York and London, everything seems alright until when agent Bill Marks receives a text message in a secure network.

It is also Hitchcockian in being merciless about the questions of doubt and suspicion, including suggesting an unreliable protagonist.

But all this apart, Non-Stop is a brilliant action film, not quite indulgent in the set action sequences like in Raid:Redemption or as mindless an idea like The Expendables, it also discards the customary wisecracking action lead, but because there is no time for such things: we need to know who hijacked the plane and why is he killing one of the passengers every 20 minutes!

The action film is a base, maybe I went overboard with the banyan tree.

<Discontinues that tree based example>

But the action film is definitely fun, delivering most of the time because it is easier to evoke adrenalin than to evoke other sentiments. And that is how action films should be seen, I mean good action films.

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