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Blacklight

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Blacklight
BlackLight.jpg
More like the audience's gonna need a refund.
Genre: Action
Suspense
Thriller
Directed By: Mark Williams
Produced By: Mark Williams
Paul Currie
Myles Nestel
Alevé Loh
Coco Xiaolu Ma
Written By: Nick May
Mark Williams
Starring: Liam Neeson
Emmy Raver-Lampman
Taylor John Smith
Aidan Quinn
Cinematography: Shelly Johnson
Distributed By: Rialto Distribution (Australia)
Briarcliff Entertainment (United States)
Release Date: February 10, 2022 (Australia)
February 11, 2022 (United States)
Runtime: 104 minutes
Country: United States
Australia
Language: English
Budget: $43 million
Box Office: $14.8 million


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.

Plot

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

  1. The film suffers from a major flaw that ruins the plot from the beginning.
  2. A few chase scenes have strange double-take edits.
    • For example, the action scenes were found to be confusing.
  3. The script doesn't make any sense. Project Unity just kills random civilians because the plot wants it to.
  4. Bad acting, aside from Liam Neeson.
  5. The family scenes are clumsy and rushed.
  6. The OCD subplot is pretty bad.
  7. Lousy dialogue, which can be laughable.
  8. Weird editing.
    • The gunplay and car chases are distracted because of that.
    • The editing choices look more like a 1980s slow-mo camera.
  9. Bad opening: Anti-government activist Sophia Flores is killed at the opening scene. However, they make her death look like an accident.
  10. The characters are unlikable.
  11. Some scenes are a rip-off to the John Wick movies.
  12. 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.
  13. Despite the film looks like a 1970s paranoid thriller, but it doesn't achieve a level of suspense.
  14. The film feels more like an episode of Monk instead of an action thriller.
  15. Not enough fighting scenes to make the movie work.
    • One scene has Travis Block in a dark house fighting only four guys.
  16. 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.
  17. An effect where the shot suddenly flashes while the camera cuts rapidly between zooms and rewinds is shown throughout the film.
  18. Bad direction by Mark Williams.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The film has some very decent pacing.
  2. Liam Neeson does give a good performance, despite the awful script he was given.
  3. The cinematography is perfect.
  4. The political elements brought up some real world questions.
  5. Stunning visuals.
  6. Good references to Taken.

Reception

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."

Box Office

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.

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