Travis Black (Liam Neeson) is a government FBI agent who works off the book and keeps his work under the radar. He’s the man you call when fellow FBI agents fall off the rails or require a desperate rescue. Travis also lives alone, but he desires to reconnect with his loved ones: his only daughter, and his young granddaughter. With hopes of putting his family first, Travis is also considering walking away from his current job and into retirement.
But when Travis receives a new assignment from the head of the FBI and his long-time friend Gabriel (Aidan Quinn), Travis becomes highly suspicious about the organisation he has served a long time. He’s tasked to bring in a young, rebellious FBI agent named Dusty (Taylor John Smith). Travis soon discovers there’s more to the FBI when Dusty claims to have new intel that he will only share with a leading journalist named Mira (Emmy Raver-Lampman) and refuses to trust Travis. Can Travis contain the problem before it gets out of control, and will he find the truth about the organisation he has served faithfully?
It’s no secret that actor Liam Neeson has delivered many action titles of late, most of them generally mindless popcorn entertainment. In many cases, the actor delivers a good time for audiences seeking an escape. The question is, does Blacklight continue to tick the right boxes on an entertainment level, or should the actor finally move on from doing action films? Sadly, it’s not good news when it comes to these questions.
Blacklight attempts to be a thriller and an action film. Granted, moments of action are here, but it’s either brief, impossible to watch visually, or the outcome of the action is highly predictable. Travis, as a character, isn’t overly likeable. He makes various claims about putting his family first but continually gets distracted by other tasks and submits to his job far too easily. Some aspects of his character never really develop throughout the film, nor does he learn from his mistakes. He also makes major errors with his family and even his job, which is baffling and annoying to watch.
The dialogue in Blacklight is questionable, especially from the character Gabriel, who plays Travis’s boss and close friend. He spits lines that sound rather corny and unfitting, and at times, the character will even describe something that honestly makes no quotable sense, even though I’m sure it sounded cool on paper (aka the script). Editing is another topic. A strange glitch effect is used during certain scenes, which I suggest is to symbolise a condition that the lead character deals with each day. Still, these types of edits became annoying and highly distracting. Those who adore watching Liam Neeson will be surprised to find other side characters here take up a good portion of screen-time. These scenes with the side characters lack any excitement or real entertainment value.
Overall, I’m normally all for watching a fun popcorn flick starring Liam Neeson, who usually delivers a fun time on the big screen. But Blacklight is a huge letdown for many reasons, and it’s easily one of my least favourite action films from the actor himself. Sure, there are a few moments of action here, but it’s all brief and filled with predictable outcomes. This is a disappointing feature with unfitting dialogue, unlikeable characters (including the leads), and a plot that carries obvious outcomes.