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Film Review


Blacklight

Directed by Mark Williams
From: Open Road Films (II)
Released: 02.11.22
Review by Julian Lytle | February 9, 2022 at 12:30 PM
F

Basically: Liam Neeson in another movie where he’s badass but this time he looks OLD old.

Yo, why are they doing our guy Liam Neeson like this? What did he do to constantly be sent these scripts? Neeson is a good actor but after Taken popped off it’s like he’s had to do bad Xerox copies of the same thing over and over. And you know if you copy a copy, the copy just gets worse with each one. 

I’m going to try and tell you what Blacklight is about but I don’t think the movie knows what it’s about…so here we go. Neeson plays Travis Block, an FBI Agent who rescues undercover FBI agents from tight situations when their cover is blown. He has a particular set of skills, as we expect. He works for the Director of the FBI Gabriel Robinson (Aidan Quinn). They are old friends who once served together back in the Vietnam war. 

Photo: Open Road Films (II)

After a young agent named Dusty (Taylor John Smith) gets arrested for beating up police officers, coupled with the death of a congressional candidate, Travis starts to think it’s time for him to retire. However, Dusty knows some secrets and feels guilty about what he’s been ordered to do. He tries to meet with a reporter named Mira Jones (Emmy Raver-Lampman) to tell his story. Travis attempts to take Dusty to counseling but things get spicy from there on out. 

A lot of Blacklight doesn’t make sense. The movie spends time building a storyline about Travis’ OCD and how his daughter Amanda reacts to it. Travis just wants to retire and spend time with Amanda and her daughter. But Amanda doesn’t like how he’s teaching his granddaughter to watch for stuff like being followed and being aware of strangers. Those are actually common sense lessons but not in this movie [shrug]. The film uses lens flare effects often seen in J.J. Abrams movies to show that things seem weird for Travis in order to make you think that maybe he was brainwashed or something…but nope. Nothing. Just a weird loose end. Blacklight doesn’t do a good job of showing Neeson as badass, he’s just an old man somehow moving slowly through it all. 

Photo: Open Road Films (II)

The press plot with Mira is hamfisted as well. I like Emmy a lot as an actress since watching her in The Umbrella Academy but I feel she’s a bit wasted here even though she’s the other lead. The film feels pieced together as if story elements were placed in a hat, the writers closed their eyes, and they pulled out what would happen next. I will give the filmmakers some credit for making the taxis look like DC taxis even though you can tell the whole thing was filmed somewhere else. But all I could do was shake my head as Blacklight moved from boring set piece to boring set piece and I don’t know if any of the characters really learned or did anything. 

In the End: I don’t know why this movie is called Blacklight or why they still have Liam Neeson trying to run and beat people up but they need to stop.

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