Director: Mark Williams
Cast: Liam Neeson, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Aidan Quinn
Release Date: May 3, 2022
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 4.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Trust, identity, and the danger of unchecked power push a covert operative to the edge in BLACKLIGHT. Travis Block (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. He knows his hands are dirty, but he’s aiming to change. When an agent is killed after infiltrating a group espousing violent societal upheaval, Block discovers a shadowy program called Operation Unity is striking down ordinary citizens for reasons known only to Block’s boss, FBI chief Robinson (Quinn). As Block gets closer to the truth, he enlists the help of a journalist (Raver-Lampman), but his past and present collide when his daughter and granddaughter are threatened, and in saving them, he could save himself. 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.
Please Note: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Blacklight’ follows a freelance government fixer named Travis Block (Neeson) who works directly under the head of the FBI chief (Quinn) helping to get undercover agents out of tight spots once their cover is blown and other dangerous situations where a man without a record of involvement is key. But when a paranoid agent reveals a potentially shadowy and secretive program before being killed, it sends Block on a quest for the truth. Now he’ll have to go against those high up in the government trying to keep the program under wraps in a desperate attempt to unveil the twisted program and those responsible for its actions with only the help of a lone journalist (Raver-Lampman) who appears to be the one person he can trust.
Directed by Mark Williams (Honest Thief) from a screenplay that he also co-wrote with first time screenwriter Nick May, from a story by May and Brandon Reavis, Williams does a decent job at the helm of ‘Blacklight’ guiding along the action and fun with energy and some style throughout. The film’s cast includes Liam Neeson (Cold Pursuit), Emmy Raver-Lampman (TV’s The Umbrella Academy), Taylor John Smith (Hunter Killer), Aidan Quinn (TV’s Elementary) and more, with the majority offering decent enough or at least fitting performances for the most part in each of their respective roles.
‘Blacklight’ delivers plenty of action, excitement and even a notable car chase or two, but generally falls flat in its attempt to craft a unique or worthwhile story for it all to play out amid. For the most part it merely borrows elements we’ve seen in countless other action movies and then enlists international star Liam Neeson (paired once again with director Mark Williams who also helmed the recent Neeson outing Honest Thief) for another fast paced, action-packed but otherwise fairly lackluster thriller that’s plenty of fun throughout but as a whole can be easily lumped in with the most generic of Neeson’s films. The story revolves around a government conspiracy with sources deep within (imagine that) and after an explosive introduction to our lead hero and some of the other key individuals largely disregards any intent or logic in favor of finding as many opportunities or excuses as possible to throw our hero into one gunfight or other similarly action fueled situation after another. It’s not a great film by any means and Neeson almost feels more deadpan and bitter than usual, but if you can let the uninteresting story go and you’re a fan of Liam Neeson’s action flicks overall then you might still want to give this one a chance, although I would encourage anyone that isn’t a diehard fan of Neeson’s to try and rent it before purchasing a copy.
Overall, ‘Blacklight’ is another fairly generic action thriller starring Liam Neeson that manages to offer up enough action-packed moments and thrills to keep you entertained throughout but suffers from an absence of anything unique or even mildly original story wise to hold it up or cause it to stand out in any significant way. ‘Blacklight’ is worth checking out if you’re a fan of Liam Neeson and his action roles in particular in which case you’re likely to have plenty of fun with this one and if you appreciate simplistic action movies in general then this should make an enjoyable evening’s entertainment that you won’t have to concentrate too hard on. If you’re not a diehard fan of Neeson and aren’t overly intrigued with this one already then you’re probably better off just skipping it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Blacklight’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks quite good as a whole and provides a sharp, clean and nicely detailed presentation from start to finish without any notable issues or faults to be uncovered along the way. It holds up smoothly even during the various darkly lit scenes and fast moving action sequences, never resulting in anything that’s occurring onscreen becoming problematic, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation that should more than satisfy fans and newcomers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a crisp, smooth and fairly immersive audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send gunshots, explosions and music, along vehicle activity and plenty more whipping throughout the various speakers at every fitting opportunity, while always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that holds up well throughout and helps to contribute some extra fun to the viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Blacklight’ includes a couple extras in the way of brief Behind the Scenes Featurettes that feature interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are ‘Blacklight: Behind the Scenes’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length) and ‘Shooting Blacklight’ (running approximately 3 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 4.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
‘Blacklight’ Arrives Home on Blu-ray & DVD May 3, 2022 & is Now Available to Own on Digital from Briarcliff Entertainment & Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
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