BLACKLIGHT (2022) Reviews of Liam Neeson action thriller

  

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‘They’re gonna need more men’

Blacklight is a 2022 action-thriller film about a government operative coming to terms with his shadowy past.

Directed by Mark Williams (The Marksman; A Family Man; Honest Thief) from a screenplay co-written by Nick May and Mark Williams based on a storyline by Nick May and Brandon Reavis. Produced by Paul Currie, Allie Loh, Coco Xiaolu Ma, Myles Nestel and Mark Williams.

The American-Australian-Chinese production stars Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Taylor John Smith, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Claire van der Boom, Yael Stone, Andrew Shaw, Zac Lemons and Gabriella Sengos.

Plot:

Travis Block (Liam Neeson) is a troubled, off-the-books government operative fixer for the FBI who is tasked with pulling undercover agents out of dangerous situations. He finds himself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy and a plot targeting U.S. citizens when one such agent questions the very people he is working for. Block finds himself in the crosshairs of the FBI director he once helped protect…

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Reviews:

Blacklight is at its best when there’s a chase scene. There’s fast cars, and a pretty damn cool garbage truck chase. The problem with the action is Liam is never in any real danger. I kept waiting for a moment that would try to make you think Liam was in trouble. I never got that feeling of peril. I expected more from a Liam Neeson flick.” Bulletproof Action

“The film doesn’t provide much in the way of surprises, and anyone who doesn’t immediately suspect that Quinn’s character is up to no good has probably never heard of J. Edgar Hoover […] Although Blacklight harkens back to the conspiracy thrillers of the 1970s — think The Parallax View or Three Days of the Condor — it never achieves their level of narrative momentum or suspense.” The Hollywood Reporter

“Neeson always gives fair value in these woebegone, quick-and-dirty actioners. But closing in on 70, the fakery meant to show him brawling or driving too fast and what not isn’t that subtle. Quinn seems too bored to give this villainous turn much effort, as were the screenwriters, who don’t make that revelation anything resembling a spoiler.” Movie Nation

” …after a while you get the sense that Blacklight is simply stalling as a means of delaying the inevitable action-driven showdown. And even that confrontation is disappointingly uneventful, as its conclusion is dramatized—or, rather, delivered—by a news article. Of course, that’s not too surprising for a film that repeatedly breaks the golden rule of filmmaking by telling rather than showing.” Slant

“The cuts are a tad quicker than the eye might prefer, but you still can tell those are real cars and trucks performing the stunts. Block discovers the actual conspiracy a lot later than the trailers make it appear. For much of the movie, it’s just Block chasing his fugitive, but it’s still a solid straight-ahead pursuit movie.” UPI

“ …Blacklight feels like a vivid reminder that actors really are just playing around and shouting “pew-pew” at each other; truly gifted performers and filmmakers can convince us that what they are doing and what they are examining is worth caring about, but when even they don’t seem especially invested in creating a believable reality, then the end result becomes all disbelief and no suspension.” The Wrap

Release date:

In the US, Open Road Films released Blacklight theatrically in over 2,000 locations on February 11th 2022.

Cast and characters:

Liam Neeson … Travis Block
Aidan Quinn … Gabriel Robinson
Taylor John Smith Taylor John Smith … Dusty Crane
Emmy Raver-Lampman … Mira Jones
Claire van der Boom … Amanda Block
Yael Stone … Helen Davidson
Andrew Shaw … Jordan Lockhart
Zac Lemons … Wallace
Gabriella Sengos … Natalie Block
Tim Draxl … Drew Hawthorne
Georgia Flood … Pearl
Caroline Brazier … Sarah
Mel Jarnson … Sofia Flores
Sunny S. Walia … Beat Cop

Filming locations:

Australia

Technical details:

1 hour 48 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1

Fun facts:

This is the first produced screenplay by Nick May, a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney during the Obama administration, and Brandon Reavis, who developed the story with May. It was originally titled Under Cover of Darkness

Trailer:

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