Liam Neeson movies get churned out so regularly it is becoming more and more difficult to differentiate the new ones from the older films. The themes and posters all have a similar look and feel to them you can be forgiven for thinking they are the same. The characters that Liam Neeson plays in all these movies are almost always the same. The strong silent hero with killer moves, great with firearms and who is a loner with some dark past. He is also usually having problems relating to other people of members of his family. Despite the similarities and foregone expectations, Liam Neeson has a loyal fanbase that would always give him films a chance. Sometimes these can be a rewarding experience as in the case of the recent The Ice Road, whereas other times, the films may leave viewers wanting.
Alas, this latest Liam Neeson outing Blacklight, falls more into the latter category. The story is a cliched plot about a corrupt FBI trying to cover up their operations when one of their loyal agent decides to go rogue with an expose to the press. Enter Liam Neeson who is like a life saver for FBI agents who need an exit from their undercover assignments when they get emotionally or physically threatened. He soon realises the corrupt nature of his boss and typically turns the table when he is unable to escape from the firm’s commitments.
Liam Neeson movies don’t necessarily require a very good plot. Just excuses for action sequences with fights, chases and lot’s of running about. Blacklight sorts of checks against all the boxes but somehow still comes across as a lame attempt. The action sequences come across as feeling very standard and by the numbers. We have seen better versions of all the car chases, explosions, running, fist and gun fights here, and never once do we ever feel worried for our hero as we know he will survive through anything. The supporting characters and script all feel mediocre and more akin to what we see on regular TV crime series. Honours for the overall mediocracy here goes to the film’s director Mark Williams.
I have to admit I have a weakness for Liam Neeson as I think he is a nice guy and fine actor. So yeah, I am guilty of being one of those people who see Liam Neeson in a poster and automatically give the movie a try knowing how bad the track record has been for his recent movies. I am always hoping and wishing for another Taken or Rob Roy. Blacklight was a disappointment despites the actions. But mediocre action set pieces glued together by an equally ordinary script and acting, compels me not to recommend this for anyone hoping for some standard action stuff. If you are like me, a Liam Neeson fan, this becomes even more excruciating because it kind of provide further evidence of the futility to ever finding a good or much less great, new Liam Neeson movie in the future.
Finally a word about the film’s title which is a bit baffling to me. Apparently the term “blacklight” is used to refer to some sort of infrared radiation that is invisible to the eyes. By that terminology I guess the title is making reference to the dirty deeds that goes on behind a corrupted FBI agency that needs to remain “invisible” to the public.