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Blacklight (2022) – Review – A Predictable Thriller That Feels Like Comfort Food for Liam Neeson Fans

May 2, 2022

Quick Thoughts – Grade – C – On the Liam Neeson action movie grading scale, Blacklight is a satisfying experience that features nothing new. Much like a Hallmark Christmas movie (which are insanely popular and trendsetting), it’s wildly predictable and easy to watch. If you want to relax and watch an undemanding action film, check out Blacklight. 

While the 8% Rotten Tomatometer score is understandable, it’s a bit harsh because the critics should know what they are getting into when they watch a recently made Liam Neeson film. Blacklight is no Taken, Cold Pursuit or Non-Stop, it’s more of a Taken 2, Honest Thief or The Marksman-esque Neeson action film that can be enjoyable if expectations are set correctly. Filmed in Australia (standing in for the United States) in 2020, and directed by Mark Williams (Honest Thief), the movie tells of the story of an guy named Travis Block (Neeson), who has an excellent sets of skills, and uses them to retrieve undercover FBI agents who have gone too far undercover and gotten hooked on drugs, money or danger. The job takes him around the world at a moment’s notice and his crazy schedule means he’s divorced and constantly being insulted by his daughter Amanda (Claire van der Boom – given some of the worst dialogue my ears have ever heard. I felt bad for her because her character is so one-dimensional), who won’t let him visit his granddaughter Natalie (Gabriella Sangos). Block also suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as he does everything in threes, and is constantly worried about locking doors and security. Since it’s a Liam Neeson character, the guy seemingly has a heart of gold despite a shady past and you never get the feeling that this man was ever truly bad or a terrible parent (it’s all said, not shown). Basically, he’s a good guy, who got put in a bad situation, and now is trying to atone for past sins. If Neeson was more rakish or slimy, the scenes that feature him getting insulted by his daughter would play more real, but because it’s Neeson you just want the lady to leave her nice dad alone and stop calling him crazy (which she does). 

Block finds trouble when a former agent Dusty Crane (Taylor John Smith – watch Shadow in the Cloud) threatens to blow open an FBI conspiracy to an intrepid reporter named Mira Jones (Emmy Raver-Lampman – watch Hamilton now). Crane’s whistle-blowing actions kick off a few fun car chases, and gun fights with Wallace (Zac Lemmons) and Lockhart (Andrew Shaw) , two deadly operatives who add genuine toughness and believability to the action scenes. In the end, it all comes down to a fun gunfight inside a mansion that showcases Block using his deadly skills to maximum effect. Throw in the obviously slimy Gabriel Robinson (Aidan Quinn), who is the head of the FBI, and you have a fun political thriller that never tries to be anything more than a movie you’d enjoy on an airplane. I don’t mean that as an insult, I’m just saying that it’s happy staying in its lane and giving Neeson fans what they want.

Final thoughts – Set your expectations and enjoy.

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