Bill finds Jen watching the news report, which is building a psychological profile about him. They reveal his daughter died of cancer when she was eight, which planted the seeds of his madness as well as explaining why he had no current pictures of her. A comment a news reporter makes about air marshals being able to walk past security with no checks activates a light bulb over Bill's head, so he goes back to Jack's body and finds the bomb hidden inside his coke stash.
Exiting the bathroom he immediately gets jumped by the cop and his buddies, trying to fight them off but loses his gun in the process. They wrestle him to the ground, ignoring his warnings about the bomb until Tom grabs the gun and moves them away. Tom demands the truth so Bill tells them, something he probably should have done WAY earlier to avoid most of this clusterfuck. He admits everything on the news story about him was true, confessing his sorrow over working instead of being with his daughter as he was too afraid to watch her die. This tugs all the right heartstrings, so Tom gives him his gun back and everyone backs off.
Bill comes up with a plan to move the bomb to the back of the plane and stack everything they have against to hopefully lessen its blast, as well as having the plane lowered in elevation to help alleviate the pressure if it does go off. And in case you're wondering why they just don't throw it out of the plane, the film is one step ahead of you with some kind of bullshit explanation it'd set the bomb off... or something. Bill gives the cop Jack's gun, asking him to take action in case the texter shows himself.
An external shot of the plane follows, with fighter planes flying alongside it to escort Kyle to the designated landing area. They advise against lowering the plane's altitude, which is of course the next thing Bill asks him to do. Upon learning about the bomb Kyle agrees to do this, but it'll take ten minutes as they'll be near enough to the landing area for him to make it look like part of the natural descent.
Marenick calls again, saying they've deposited the money into Bill's bank account. Once again Bill tries to tell him what's going on, but Marenick is as good at ignoring orders as Bill is. Marenick mentions they've all seen a video of Bill roughing up the hostages that was uploaded by a passenger, Bill looking up to see a man recording him that very second.
Bill demands his phone, finding it full of videos. He plays the one back of him dragging Tom around, noticing Tom stumbling over the man who was poisoned and causing him to let out a very pronounced “OW!”. So this guy just ignored a metal tip embedded in his chest for twenty minutes? This is cut with footage of Tom nervously watching Bill learn the truth, bolting up and grabbing the gun from the cop.
Bill draws his gun in retaliation, and we have ourselves a standoff! Tom tries to shoot the cop but finds the gun isn't loaded, throwing him down and somehow disappearing in the fracas. Alright, at this point Tom IS a wizard because he just vanished in a tiny enclosed space in PLAIN SIGHT. Bill shouts at the cop the ammo is in a bag up in business class, the cop running there to retrieve it. The cop can't find anything, Zack asking him if he's looking for the bullets and proceeds to SHOOT HIM IN THE CHEST! THE HELL?!
The noise distracts Bill, allowing him to get disarmed by Tom who obviously has the powers of teleportation because he appeared out of freaking nowhere. Tom goes on to give us his origin story, as his father died in 9/11 so he joined the military to make sure such a thing would never happen again. But the war he fought made no sense to him, as he learned security was just a lie and now wants to send a message to the world to illustrate that. REALLY? Are we already at the point where 9/11 can be used in any cookie cutter action movie now?
Answer: yes. This is going to be a LONG decade of action movies methinks. Tom rants on more, but all I get is his plan is to avenge his father's death by becoming the same kind of terrorist that killed him. Why is it so hard to write a villain with motivation that makes an ounce of sense anymore? I'm not asking for something highly complex, just something that doesn't make you sound like a drooling moron when you say it out loud. Zack, also an ex-soldier, seems more into the money than whatever the fuck Tom is rambling about, so there's your villains ladies and gentlemen! All of that buildup for a wackjob who wants to kill people to make people safer, and a guy who just wants to get paid.
Bill tells the two the plane will NOT be descending, so they won't be able to parachute out as Zack is preparing to do. Zack, who is certainly not ready to die, is about to listen to Bill and disarm the bomb when Tom shoots him. Kyle finally decides to take the plane down in spite of the fighter jets, as gravity goes wonky and Tom gets send flying back. He recovers quickly and starts firing at Bill, hitting only windows instead to make things more chaotic as things begin getting sucked out of the plane right after left.
Nancy distracts him by hitting him in the face with a seat belt, which is awesome beyond words. Bill takes this chance to grab Zack's gun and recreate the movie poster as he scores a slow motion kill on Tom. BOOM HEADSHOT! Kyle hits 8,000 feet as we have less than a minute before the bomb goes off, which gives Zack enough time to come back from the dead and attack Bill with a knife.
Bill easily fights him off, leaving him back by the bomb as it explodes. Bill runs to the front of the plane as ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE, diving safely behind a counter. The plane begins falling apart as Kyle manages to land it in epic fashion. A news reporter starts wrapping things up for us as Bill gets another call from Marenick, who of course apologizes for everything. Bill meets up with Jen, as the film ends with them playfully bantering with each other and hinting at a hookup.
Cue the credits.
Whooo boy, THESE kind of movies. You know the kind, where the villain is magically psychic to the point where he makes Jigsaw from Saw look like a CHUMP? Where the villain has every single little detail anticipated to absolute perfection? Yeah, that's this movie.
The biggest plothole is early one with the whole Jack's suitcase full of coke subplot. How in the world did Tom and Zack get a bomb planted in there before he got on the plane? How did they even find out he was a drug smuggler? How did they know he and Bill would end up in a fight to the death in EXACTLY twenty minutes, let alone know that Bill was going to win? What if Jack had won and killed Bill (Volume 1)? That would have harshed their plan pretty bad. I will give them a couple of points for guessing Jack wouldn't want to land the plane so he could make his drug deal though.
Although maybe not, because as we saw Jack was all too ready to kill Bill (Volume 2) to protect his secret so why wouldn't he just kill the weaselly looking Tom for threatening him? What did Tom hold over his head anyway? See, these kind of movies are all the same: they drop a headache inducingly stupid revelation and then pile on tons of action to distract you so your brain doesn't have time to process the stupidity it just saw.
Or how did Zack manage to stab the pilot all the way from the bathroom? What, did the syringe also double as a blow dart gun? How was it able to launch such a small needle with enough velocity to penetrate his skin? What would Tom have done if Bill wasn't dragging around him and giving him a chance to easily poison someone? Just stabbed a random passenger and how they also didn't notice a stabbing pain on their body?
Towards the end, Tom brags his and Zack's plan was foolproof and they thought of EVERYTHING, but everything in the movie is contrary to that. Pretty much their entire plan occurs because of dumb luck and massive plotholes, which doesn't exactly sell this movie as a masterful whodunnit thriller.
However, despite ALL of this, I was still entertained the entire time. Jaume Collet-Serra certainly knows how to pace a movie, as there wasn't a single moment where I was bored. In this day and age of CGI nonsense and sixty million subplots that go nowhere, this is about the highest praise I can give a film. Neeson once again delivered because he's an actor first and an action star second, which puts him light years ahead of the other 99% of the rest of the action heroes out there. He can say more with a single pained look than anyone else can say with a paragraph of cliched dialogue.
Julianne Moore and Lupita Nyong'o were horribly wasted, especially Nyong'o who was in this thing for all of a minute and did nothing. Moore was basically a RED herring (insert drum roll here) meant to divert our attention from the bad guys, even though there were virtually no clues to tip us off who they were. Fortunately Nancy, played by Michelle Dockery of Downtown Abbey fame, picked up all of their slack and had a great heroic moment herself.
All in all, this was slightly better than Unknown but I really can't recommend it unless you can watch it free on TV. Hell, this almost felt like a made for TV movie as you can even tell where the commercial breaks would go and there were even a few scenes towards the end I was half-expecting to see an ad for Wendy's or a cell phone company start playing.