If It Ain’t Broke…: Our Review of ‘Blacklight’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - February 10, 2022
If It Ain’t Broke…: Our Review of ‘Blacklight’

Make no mistake, reliability matters…

The reality of life is that quite frankly, retirement isn’t going to be for everyone…even in the movie business.

While perhaps having lost a step physically, knocking on the door of 70 years young this year, Liam Neeson still works as the bad-ass grandpa you’d rather not be on the wrong side of. While Blacklight borrows many (and we mean MANY) pages from his well-worn canon of recent years it still works thanks to solid direction and a leading man charisma that actually has the sense to channel the likes of Clint Eastwood and at least somewhat acknowledge that he MIGHT just be getting “too old for this s***”

Travis Block (Liam Neeson) is a government operative coming to terms with his shadowy past. When he discovers a plot targeting U.S. citizens, Block finds himself in the crosshairs of the FBI director (Aidan Quinn) he once helped protect.

Ok kids, this one ain’t rocket science.

Insert a grizzled veteran bad-ass type looking to live a simpler life, thrust into a situation either by circumstance or an old friend, apply a dose of family member in danger…and the mayhem ensues…then rinse and repeat.

Yes we just loosely described the plot of about 15 different movies Liam Neeson has done since he started down this rabbit hole with Taken back in 2008, but to be honest…who the hell cares?

There’s a reason they keep making these movies…the formula works pretty goddamn well, so why fuck it up?

Liam Neeson has made a cottage industry out of these movies as he effectively straddles the line between empathetic and terrifying all at the same time.  He scary, but we actually like him and are invested in his struggle, whatever it maybe.  Sure the fight scenes don’t quite have the same snap that they used to it; it all gets compensated for by movie star swagger which Neeson will have in spades until the end of time.

Director Mark Williams does a solid job of keeping the narrative and action going at a decent flow and while the screenplay delves into some clunky political plot points and ideas throughout, it builds well enough until it fizzles out a little during the 3rd and final act of the film.

Aidan Quinn certainly has enough pedigree to give us some scene chewing bad guy moments but only gets part of the way there as the script lets him down as our primary bad guy, however it gets made up for somewhat with Emmy Raver-Lampman as the plucky reporter who comes to Neeson for help in taking down the bad guys while his protégé played by Taylor John Smith is basically just there to spur Neeson into action at the end of the day.

Pardon the bad pun here…but you don’t need to bring a “Blacklight” to Blacklight.  The formula is well on display here and while it’s hardly changing the cinematic universe, it’s certainly a pleasant enough diversion to watch in a dark room with some popcorn to enjoy.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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