Blacklight is a 2022 action thriller film directed and co-written by Mark Williams. The film stars Liam Neeson as an FBI operative who gets involved in a government conspiracy; Emmy Raver-Lampman, Taylor John Smith, and Aidan Quinn also star.
A freelance government "fixer" enlists a journalist's help to expose a shadowy program that's striking down ordinary citizens for unknown reasons.
Why They're Not Gonna Need More Men
- The film suffers from a major flaw that ruins the plot from the beginning.
- A few chase scenes have strange double-take edits.
- For example, the action scenes were found to be confusing.
- The script doesn't make any sense. Project Unity just kills random civilians because the plot wants it to.
- Bad acting, aside from Liam Neeson.
- The family scenes are clumsy and rushed.
- The OCD subplot is pretty bad.
- Lousy dialogue, which can be laughable.
- Weird editing.
- The gunplay and car chases are distracted because of that.
- The editing choices look more like a 1980s slow-mo camera.
- Bad opening: Anti-government activist Sophia Flores is killed at the opening scene. However, they make her death look like an accident.
- The characters are unlikable.
- Some scenes are a rip-off to the John Wick movies.
- Not enough opportunities to make this look like a good action thriller.
- For example, Travis Block is obsessive-compulsive, but he actually doesn't do anything.
- Despite the film looks like a 1970s paranoid thriller, but it doesn't achieve a level of suspense.
- The film feels more like an episode of Monk instead of an action thriller.
- Not enough fighting scenes to make the movie work.
- One scene has Travis Block in a dark house fighting only four guys.
- The title is not a signal of aesthetic intent, which proves that Mark Williams' cinematic style is slow. The tagline is also very lazy. It will imply that Travis is a badass killer and that the villains should watch out for him, but no.
- An effect where the shot suddenly flashes while the camera cuts rapidly between zooms and rewinds is shown throughout the film.
- Bad direction by Mark Williams.
- The film has some very decent pacing.
- Liam Neeson does give a good performance, despite the awful script he was given.
- The cinematography is perfect.
- The political elements brought up some real world questions.
- Stunning visuals.
- Good references to Taken.
Blacklight received negative reviews from critics. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 8% of 91 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 3.6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Turn it off." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 27 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by PostTrak gave the film a 58% positive score, with 39% saying they would definitely recommend it.
Joe Leydon of Variety said: "If you approach it with sufficiently lowered expectations, and have fond memories of the '70s paranoid dramas that obviously inspired director and co-writer Mark Williams, this might be your house-brand jam." Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Lacking a high concept or memorable central character, the film is a by-the-numbers actioner that coasts on its star's soulful gravitas and low-key charisma."
In the United States and Canada, Blacklight was released alongside Death on the Nile and Marry Me, and was projected to gross $1–5 million from 2,772 theaters in its opening weekend. The film went on to debut to $3.5 million, finishing fifth at the box office. Overall audiences during its opening were 64% male, 83% above the age of 25, 58% above 35, and 35% above 45. The ethnic breakdown of the audience showed that 53% were Caucasian, 14% Hispanic and Latino Americans, 15% African American, and 18% Asian or other. The film finished tenth at the box office in its second weekend with $1.7 million.