‘Blacklight’ Review: Liam Neeson Stars in Yet Another Aggressively Average Action Flick 

Liam Neeson has had a lot of great roles over the course of his career, but for the past decade, he’s been playing the same character in a slightly different font, and unfortunately, that makes Blacklight indiscernible from the rest.

If you saw the trailer for Blacklight earlier this year, you may have actually been compelled to see it, thanks to clever upbeat editing and a killer soundtrack that makes it feel like a better version of 90% of the action flicks about shadowy government agents who suddenly discover their moral compasses. Well, this definitely isn't that movie.

The key difference between Neeson’s Travis Block and Taken’s Bryan Mills is that he’s not just a father—he’s a grandfather. In fact, he’s a grandfather who wants to get out of the business of doing the government’s morally questionable dirty work. Travis works off the books for the head of the FBI who knows a little too much about a dubious incident that occurred when they were both stationed in Vietnam.

He is tasked with removing operatives who have had their covers exposed, but in the process, he discovers a deadly conspiracy linked to Dusty Crane’s (Taylor John Smith) recent run-in with the cops and rising journalist Mira Jones (Emmy Raver-Lampman). Crane knows too much about the powers that be and he’s ready to be a whistleblower, but the upper echelons aren’t going to let anyone air their dirty laundry. Especially when it involves the “Deep State” killing a progressive media-darling millennial politician.

The film tries to be political by offering up commentary that could have been pulled straight from Twitter on any day ending in ‘Y.’ While I loved everything Raver-Lampman brought to the table, it was quite clear that the script was not trying to portray what actual political journalism looks like. For a film whose plot is all about “shining a blacklight on the unseen” it does none of that. Its characters shine no lights, nothing is actually unseen, and it’s all painfully mediocre.

blacklight still
Courtesy of Briarcliff Entertainment

Beyond one, admittedly cool garbage truck car chase, Blacklight has very few positive aspects to bother mentioning. The stunt work and fight choreography is shockingly lackluster for an action film and brings almost nothing new to the table. You could easily swap out the fight scenes for those from another Neeson-led action flick and hardly notice the change.

Liam Neeson, if you are in desperate need of work, I could write you a script. But if you’re insistent on spending the latter half of your career on formulaic lackluster thrillers, repetitive action, and the same cardboard cutout action hero, well who’s to stop you? We’ve watched you take out various versions of the same shady government bad actor, time and time again. So many times, in fact.

As a D.C. Metro Area resident and member of the Mid-Atlantic film community, I think it’s pretty egregious that they tried to pass off Melbourne, Australia as the greater D.C. area. If you’re going to use our city, at least use our film community! Or at least film in Toronto, Canada if you’re looking for better incentives than what D.C. has to offer. It has a similar vibe.

Blacklight is in theaters today.

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Blacklight

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Liam Neeson has had a lot of great roles over the course of his career, but for the past decade, he’s been playing the same character in a slightly different font, and unfortunately, that makes Blacklight indiscernible from the rest. 

2.0/10
Managing Editor of Entertainment at Your Money Geek | + posts

Maggie Lovitt is the Managing Editor of Entertainment at Wealth of Geeks where she covers her favorite topics: Star Wars and pop culture nerdery. She is also a freelance writer and News Editor at Collider. She has had bylines at Inverse, Polygon, and Dorkside of the Force. She is also a member of the Hollywood Critics Association.

When she is not covering entertainment news, she can be found on one of her numerous podcasts or on her YouTube channel. In her free time, she is also a novelist, screenwriter, actor, and member of the Screen Actors Guild.