• DERRICK DUNN

Blacklight is a shoot and miss for Liam Neeson


Liam Neeson finds himself employing a particular set of skills once again in director Mark Williams Blacklight from Open Road Films. Trust, identity and the danger of an unchecked power push are the centerpiece of this intense action-thriller which introduces us to covert operative Travis Block (Neeson), who lives and fights in the shadows. A freelance government "fixer," Block is a dangerous man whose assignments have included extracting agents out of deep-cover situations.


When Block discovers a shadowy program, called Operation Unity, is striking down ordinary citizens for reasons known only to Block's boss, FBI chief Robinson (Aidan Quinn), he enlists the help of journalist Mira (Raver-Lampman). However, much to Block's dismay, his past, and present collide when his daughter Amanda (Claire van der Boom) and granddaughter Natalie (Gabriella Sengos) are threatened. Now Block needs to rescue the people he loves and expose the truth for a shot at redemption.


Liam Neeson experienced a second career as a go-to action hero when Taken hit theaters thirteen years ago and then followed with the Taken sequels. Nesson has starred in numerous films, which I'm not mad about, as you always secure the bag by any means necessary. Unfortunately, the script for Blacklight, from Nick May and Mark Williams, comes off as more of a project written for another actor. One that called for a Liam Nesson type as opposed to the actual actor himself.


Mark Williams previously directed Nesson in 2020's Honest Thief, so one would think another collaboration between the two would deliver a better result. Nesson appears to be in the Marshawn Lynch mood of "I'm only here, so I don't get fined" with the film's running time. Essentially, Nesson is simply portraying himself, which is a shame, given the actor's previous work in prior actioners. The script features a plot about corrupt agents, and it's nothing we haven't seen on screen before, but it comes off as mundane and lazy in this film.


The supporting cast is just here to serve as caricatures, with Aidan Quinn turning in a particularly hammy performance. The only supporting character worth mentioning is Raver-Lampman's journalist character of Mira, who has some sharp wit battles with Neeson's character. Neeson doesn't get a chance to fully shine in the action sequences either; instead, some of the more promising moments go to Taylor John Smith, who portrays a colleague of Neeson's character.


While I will say that Blacklight is possibly worth a one-time watch for Neeson fans, overall, the film is one of the weaker ones in his catalog that will quickly become a distant memory.


Final Grade: D+


Blacklight opens in theaters tonight.

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