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‘…Blacklight snaps back to the kind of cartoon conspiracy that was out-dated by the 70’s…’

We may well have reached peak Liam Neeson; I make Mark Williams’ thriller to be the fourth movie from the Irish star to land in the last year. And if Honest Thief, The Ice Road and The Marksman weren’t enough, Blacklight is here to provide a fix of the straight-up rough-and tumble action with which Neeson has created his own brand. Like Charles Bronson, Neeson has become an unlikely action hero; Blacklight isn’t his best or his worst, but will do to be doing on with.

‘They’re going to need more men,’ says Blacklight’s poster, and that’s usually the case when it comes to Neeson; no man is a match for him, even when the star is pushing 70 years old. Neeson plays Travis Block, a fixer for the Feds who really just wants to spend more time with his grand-daughter, but director of the FBI Gabriel Robinson (Neeson’s costar from The Mission and Unknown, Aidan Quinn) has other ideas. Robinson has just organised a hit on political idealist Sofia Flores (Melanie Jarnson), but when a whistle-blower alerts Block to the conspiracy, he’s got little option than to get his own hands dirty.

Blacklight starts promisingly, casting Block against a mob of rednecks who have a fellow agent trapped in a trailer-park, but it’s as close as the film gets to any kind of recognisable political reality. Neeson’s films have walked a fine line between pre-Trump Republican and Democrat sentiments, but Blacklight snaps back to the kind of cartoonish conspiracy that was out-dated by the 70’s. It doesn’t help that the production shot in Australia, which really doesn’t match up for the supposed Washington DC locations, and that adds an air of unreality to proceedings. It also doesn’t compute at all that Block wouldn’t be versed in modern conspiracy theories; it seems like a major shock to him that his bosses could possibly be corrupt in any way.

Blacklight has taken a panning from critics, and turns up in the UK on Sky, but it’s a more watchable prospect than it might first appear. Hamilton star Emmy Raver-Lampman makes an impression as a journalist who gets wind of Robinson’s nefarious doings, and there’s a couple of cheerfully destructive car-chases, one of which involves Neeson’s muscle-car giving chase to a bin lorry. Blacklight fans the flames of Neeson’s legend, and that’s just enough gas to get it over the finish line. Critics carp, but audiences still seem to have an appetite for this kind of route-one action.


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  1. I’d LIKE to like these movies, but I just never really cottoned to Neeson as an action star. I think his star wars gig ruined him as an actor for me.
    But more power to him for playing these roles, that’s all I can say….

    • This movie is suitable for Bookstodges. Straightforward action. His work in Star Wars was probably the worst of his career, but he wasn’t alone in being flattened by those movies…

      • Good to know. Bookstodge suitable movies are getting rarer and rarer these days!

        I always felt bad for the people who were in the Star Wars prequels and sequels. That should have been the highlight of their careers instead of what it was 🙁

        • Agreed. What a let down! I’ve never been able to articulate the feeling I got watch Phantom Menace but maybe I should deal with it. It was such a big hype, and almost impossible to accept how bad it was. A shame for all involved.

          File this one with Care Bears!

          • I’d watch a movie about the Care Bears coming out of retirement and kicking some butt. They could call it the Rainbow Connection and drive little minicoopers…

              • I’m trying to think of a good set of characters from the 80’s that were purported good guys and so being turned into bad guys would shock everyone. Rescuers would be a bit early.
                Maybe the Smurfs? Or Teddy Ruxpin….

    • He is keepin’ the “aging action hero” thing going and still workin’ the “A-List”. I don’t think he’ll ever fall down to the direct-to-streaming end of the spectrum.

        • It’s cool to be an action star ever. Willis was one of the greats and kept it going for decades. I’m glad I didn’t jump on the ‘Bruce has lost it’ bandwagon. I guess he topped up his pension and checked out. Good luck to him.

                • That’s my point. These things weren’t made for art. Just a paycheck. No shame in making a few more paychecks if you’re ill.

                  • My point was that Willis should have stopped BEFORE Breach. Maybe sell that 5th house instead. You know, go the “budget” route for movie stars.
                    But 5 years ago I thought he was unstoppable. And right now Mr Neesam seems unstoppable. So we’ll have to wait 5 years and see what happens.

                    • Bruce had a number of career revivals, it’s a shame his choice of vehicles has been so bad as to attract attention to his illness. All the money doesn’t help much with what he’s got. Wouldn’t wish it on anyone. You’re right, he could have retired like Gene Hackman. But movie stars gotta movie star…

  2. I’m always up for Liam Neeson kicking ass. But when a new LN comes out, the question I must ask myself is, “Should I watch this new one or just watch Taken again?”

  3. Sounds like Block hasn’t watched enough Neeson movies. Anyway what’s he playing at charging about at 70? Doesn’t he have a decent pension? He can’t need the money surely.

    • I noted that it’s on critics 7 percent, audiences 84 percent when I was posting this on RT this morning. If you didn’t dig the last few Neeson entries, you won’t want to go here….

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