- Director : Mark Williams
- Writers : Nick May, Mark Williams
- Actors : Liam Neeson, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Taylor John Smith, Aidan Quinn
- Producers : Mark Williams, Paul Currie, Myles Nestel, Aleve Loh, Coco Xiaolu Ma
- Studio : Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
- Media Format : NTSC, Digital_copy
- Run time : 1 hour and 45 minutes
- Release date : May 3, 2022
- Country of Origin : USA
- MPAA rating : PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
I suppose it should be impressive that at nearly 70 years of age Liam Neeson still managed to release two action-based films in the first half of 2022, but the fact that he plays a character with diminishing mental capacity in each may be more than a little telling. Blacklight and Memory are both below average thrillers likely better suited for direct-to-video, and a sign that Neeson would be better off transitioning to supporting roles in the future. It isn’t even so much about Neeson’s inability to convincingly play the roles, though he is beginning to look a bit slower in the fight choreography. The bigger problem is the diminishing quality of the scripts offered to the aging action star.
In Blacklight, Neeson stars as Travis Block, a freelance government fixer who takes care of problems without being constrained by the law. Block specializes in extracting undercover agents from dangerous situations, especially when they have potentially turned. When Block is tasked with bringing in undercover FBI Agent Dusty Crane (Taylor John Smith), he discovers a secret government program run by chief Gabriel Robinson (Aidan Quinn). Although protected by clandestine government support, the program carries out political assassinations within the country.
After Crane contacts a journalist named Mira Jones (Emmy Raver-Lampman), she becomes invested in finding the truth, leading to her collaborating with Block. The problem for the audience is that this truth is not that complicated, leading to a predictable resolution. There are the inevitable chase and fight scenes, but they feel obligatory and uninspired. The entire process of watching Blacklight felt like a chore, because it never seemed like anyone involved was approaching the film with anything close to passion for the material. It feels as though everyone involved was aware they were making filler entertainment, intended to pad streaming services and basic cable programming with content.
The Blu-ray release for Blacklight is more impressive than the film, but that isn’t saying much. Along with the high-definition presentation of the below average filmmaking, a DVD and digital copy of the film are also included in the release. The special features include two featurettes about the making of the film, including behind-the-scenes footage and the usual interviews with cast and crew praising the film for promotional purposes.
Entertainment Value: 5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 2/10
Special Features: 2.5/10
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