Liam Neeson stars as Travis Block in director Mark Williams' BLACKLIGHT, an Open Road Films release. Credit : Ben King / Open  Road Films

Review: “Blacklight” fails to gleam any answers worth knowing

By: Robert Prentice
Blacklight

Travis Block (LIAM NEESON) 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 a journalist (EMMY RAVER-LAMPMAN), but his past and present collide when his daughter and granddaughter are threatened. Now Block needs to rescue the people he loves and expose the truth for a shot at redemption. Nothing and no one is safe when secrets are hidden in BLACKLIGHT.

Review

In yet another repeat type-cast character for Neeson, Blacklight comes in and repeats a theme seen all too often with thrillers or spy films. The formula here seems like a shake and bake kit picked up at the local supermarket. The film hits the ground running with ideas that at times feel a bit too on the nose and forced. The ‘millennials’ are too woke and threatening those in power, so they take action to stop them. Neeson’s character is a fixer, which should sound familiar because that appears to be the only role he is taking right now.

The film never really tries to set anything up and just goes forward assuming the audience gets the idea and wants to know the truth. Ultimately we don’t. Scenes that utilize social media, and social justice plot points all feel like the writers were too old to understand what any of it actually meant. When his loved ones are threatened, as they would inevitably be, there was no sense of concern or care, more like “Oh crap, I forgot to pick up pasta for dinner”. And nothing says Grandpa like a therapy session with your granddaughter who is in grade school about whether you are the good guy or the bad guy.

In the end, Blacklight managed not to shine any light on a ‘truth’ worth paying to see this in theatres. At best, if you find this in passing on cable, it makes for some background noise while doing chores.

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