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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Mark Williams
Cast:
Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Emmy Raver-Lampmann
Writing Credits:
Nick May, Mark Williams

Synopsis:
When special operative Travis Block discovers a plot targeting US citizens, he finds himself in the crosshairs of the FBI director he once helped protect.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 5/3/2022

Bonus:
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• “Shooting Blacklight” Featurette
• DVD Copy


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RELATED REVIEWS


Blacklight [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 28, 2022)

Because he’s made so many films in the same vein, it seems hard to believe that Liam Neeson’s move from Serious Dramatic Actor to Aging Action Hero only took root 13 years ago with 2009’s Taken. This trend continues with 2022’s thriller Blacklight.

Travis Block (Neeson) works as a “fixer” who deals with tasks the US government wants kept under the radar. Along the way, however, he finds some efforts that seem to go too far even by his standards.

Block learns that a hidden program called “Operation Unity” takes violent aim at US citizens for murky reasons. Concerned about this, Block pairs with journalist Mira Jones (Emmmy Raver-Lampmann) to get to the truth, a decision that leads to potential peril for Block as well as his family.

Despite all the time I spend in front of my TV to review discs for this site, I still get out to actual theaters on a regular basis. As a member of a program that allows “pre-paid” admission to multiple movies a week, I find myself willing to see plenty of movies that I wouldn’t attend if I needed to shell out $10 a pop. After all, this makes them essentially “free”, so why not take a chance?

That doesn’t mean I’ll literally go to any film, though. I found myself open to Blacklight when it hit my local multiplex, but the film’s brutal reviews kept me home.

Because of this site’s unrelenting need for new content, I don’t require as much motivation to view something in my home theater. This brought Blacklight onto my TV, where I could judge for myself whether or not it deserved its abysmal eight percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

To answer that last question, no, it doesn’t. Eight percent “fresh” implies a stinker of epic proportions, and Blacklight never turns into anything that awful.

Instead, Blacklight simply seems relentlessly meh. It doesn’t actually work as a movie, but it also seems too mediocre to turn into anything memorably bad.

Blacklight desperately wants to be a gritty 1970s political thriller ala 3 Days of the Condor. However, it seems too numb-skulled to pull off that tone.

Instead, it musters dull, one-note characters who embark on dull, semi-random escapes without much logic or purpose. Sure, the general conspiracy investigation and its threats offer potential intrigue, but Blacklight comes with such a lethargic tone that no actual excitement results.

Everything and everyone here seems somnambulant. Blacklight comes with the bones of a taut political thrillers but it feels so detached and sluggish that it doesn’t kick into gear.

Too many of the characters simply feel willfully stupid. Many of them make terrible choices solely to motivate narrative events because the writers were too lazy to find superior paths to take.

As much as Neeson sticks with the oft-similar “aging bad-ass” parts these days, he still manages some good flicks. For instance, I liked 2019’s Cold Pursuit quite a lot.

Unfortunately, Neeson makes more losers than winners these days. Blacklight winds up in the former pile, as it delivers a dull, tedious stab at a thriller.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus D

Blacklight appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, this was an appealing transfer.

Sharpness looked strong most of the time. Some wider elements seemed a little tentative, but the image usually gave us a tight, well-defined image.

Jagged edges and moiré effects remained absent, while edge haloes also failed to appear. Print flaws stayed absent as well.

Blacklight opted for a heavily teal tone, with a fair amount of amber/orange as well. These tones seemed predictable, but they worked fine within the movie’s design parameters and showed good delineation.

Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity and smoothness. I thought this was a consistently strong image.

I also felt pleased with the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. With a fair amount of action on display, the mix used the channels in an involving manner throughout much of the film.

This meant gunfire and other mayhem all around the room, and the elements connected in a concise, smooth manner. Add to that music as a bold participant and the soundscape turned into an aggressive partner.

Audio quality always satisfied. Music was dynamic and full, and effects followed suit, so those components came across as accurate and well-developed.

Speech seemed distinctive and crisp, without edginess or other issues. Everything impressed in this quality soundtrack.

The disc includes two brief featurettes: Behind the Scenes (two minutes, 47 seconds) and Shooting Blacklight (2:37). Across these, we hear from writer/director Mark Williams, producer Paul Currie, stunt coordinator/2nd unit director Guy Norris, and actors Liam Neeson, Emmy Raver-Lampmann, and Taylor John Smith.

The featurettes look at story/characters, cast and performances, stunts and virtual locations. Little real substance emerges here, as the reels mainly offer promotional fluff.

A second disc brings a DVD copy of Blacklight. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Now nearly 70, Liam Neeson continues to churn out the same kind of action thrillers that worked for him ala Taken. Though some of these work pretty well, Blacklight delivers a slow, meandering and frankly dull affair. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio along with minor bonus materials. Blacklight might not become Neeson’s worst flick, but it seems wholly forgettable.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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