At nearly 70 (!) Liam Neeson remains quite watchable. But the action shtick is getting old. Move it along — nothing new to see here folks. Unless you just feel compelled (as I often do) to watch Neeson exercise those particular skills that have carried him through every action thriller since Taken, which set a bar that few of Neeson’s films– in this particular genre– have been able to match.
Blacklight takes place in Washington, DC and opens with a very AOC-like progressive politician shaking things up at a rally before being mowed down in an apparent hit and run. Cut to steely-eyed grandpa Travis Block (Neeson) zipping down the road on a mission to extract an undercover FBI agent from a dangerous situation. That’s what Block does– off the books. He’s the MacGyver of extractions. Clever, resourceful, kick-ass. He lives and fights in the shadows, as a freelance government “fixer” who gets his assignments from a Hoover-esque FBI chief (Aidan Quinn). When Brock and a journalist (Emy Raver-Lapman) get wind of a Black Op that involves striking down ordinary citizens, they vow to get to the bottom of it, at great personal and professional peril. It’s all very stale and paint-by-numbers, with paper-thin characters and all the usual cliches about secrets, redemption, and government mistrust… punctuated by gunfights, kidnappings, explosions and the like. It’s PG-13 so it never gets too graphic. It also never gets too dramatic or interesting (though yes – as I stated earlier – Neeson himself remains watchable).
In the early part of the film, Block announces he is ready to retire but the boss won’t let him. Take the hint…
Blacklight opens in theaters February 11.