PG-13 action films are never truly just action films. There is always another level on top of them. Science fiction, or comedy, or kung fu, or thriller. Or perhaps that is with all action films at all ratings, but with the PG-13 ones I feel like it is a much larger disparity between the two conceits of a film. I say this because some may view this Liam Neeson vehicle as an action movie, and if they did, then they probably thought this movie was ok. But I see this film as a thriller, first and foremost, and at that, I loved it.
Neeson played a difficult character, as a drunk, non-people person who has to help all of these people and is closed up in this plane. He is intriguing. A few other characters are interesting, difficult characters. But beyond that, the actors are all just passable, with Julianne Moore being stereotypical and I would say below average.
The film has a lot of tension and thrills and mystery, and all of that is done superbly. There are a lot of amazing bits of camera work. The kind of camera work that is so perfectly done that most don't notice it. I did, though. So many sweeping crane shots over the chairs and down the aisles of this plane, making this very small, cramped space of the fuselage.
Oh no, the fuselage! At least all the pretty people (and one token fat character) will land on Purgatory Island safely. Ugh, Lost got so dumb.
The movie isn't perfect. There is WAY too much shaky cam work, though I do believe it comes from a logical place, being on a plane with turbulance. Julianne Moore, as said before, is not good. There is a CGI concessions cart in particular that just made me roll my eyes. Also, at the (very very good) climax of the film, they reach an emotional climax and an action climax and it is tense and really great ... then they up the ante ONE more time, but that time comes across as hackneyed and unnecessary.
But overall, this was a great film to watch, and its problems, while apparent, are forgivable. More complicated PG-13 action films need to get attention. So I ask anyone who is reading this, if you were interested in the movie, please go see it. I cannot believe you would be disappointed.