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BLACKLIGHT

"Too Formulaic and Politically Correct"

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What You Need To Know:

BLACKLIGHT is the latest in a seemingly endless string of gun-toting thrillers starring Liam Neeson. Neeson plays Travis Block, whose shadowy FBI career involves helping FBI agents adjust back into civilian life after dangerous undercover operations. Travis tries to bring a young agent named Dusty back in after a risky assignment, but he’s surprised when Dusty escapes from him. Dusty involves a reporter in exposing a plot called Operation Unity to kill a left-wing congressional candidate. Travis helps the reporter but goes into hyperdrive when the bad guys kidnap his daughter and granddaughter.

BLACKLIGHT has plenty of action but feels cliched and consists of things moviegoers have seen many times. Liam Neeson is the only actor who brings energy to his role. Also, the plot bounces jarringly between the action scenes and quieter scenes of Neeson trying to convince his grown daughter he can be a positive grandfather to her child. This awkward mix doesn’t work. Also, as a thriller, BLACKLIGHT is too unsurprising. It won’t impress action fans and has a politically correct liberal worldview that will turn off half the audience.

Content:

(RoRo, PCPC, ACapACap, PC, BB, LL, VV, A, DD, MM):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong Romantic, politically correct worldview about two FBI agents trying to expose a nefarious conspiracy by the FBI Director to assassinate left-wing politicians, with some strong anti-capitalist content, mitigated by strong pro-family moral elements as an older FBI agent tries to make good as a grandfather

Foul Language:
10 obscenities, one Jesus profanity and two light profanities

Violence:
Plenty of light action violence, starting with a woman abruptly hit and killed by an SUV whose driver intended to murder her, FBI agent explodes a boat to distract an angry mob, man beats up four policemen trying to arrest him by kicking and punching them, numerous shootouts with lots of bullets flying yet few people if any are hit or killed, man breaks out of a handcuff to steal a garbage truck and lead an FBI special agent on a wild car chase with massive destruction of property, an FBI agent explodes a car used by two rogue agents while they are outside of it, a wild car chase features a garbage truck driving recklessly across streets and sidewalks, destroying cars and property and nearly hitting numerous pedestrians

Sex:
No sex

Nudity:
No nudity

Alcohol Use:
Man drinks alcohol from a flask while sitting in his car

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking, but man pops pills while sitting in his car; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
SPOILER: The head of the FBI is shown as being evil, running an illicit operation that uses agents to kill people with left-wing viewpoints, this enables the movie to make long-winded arguments against traditional values and capitalism, especially in a speech by a young Latina woman running for Congress, a group of protesters is described as right-wing and mocked and portrayed as dumb rednecks, and lying and blackmail are employed by the FBI Director in an attempt to derail his being caught up in wrongdoing.

More Detail:

The latest in a seemingly endless string of gun-toting thrillers starring Liam Neeson, BLACKLIGHT uses frequent yet bloodless gun battles and some car chases to prop up its tale of an FBI special agent seeking to uproot an illicit conspiracy by the bureau’s director.

Neeson plays Travis Block, whose shadowy FBI career involves helping other FBI agents adjust back into civilian life after dangerous undercover operations. As he tries to bring a young agent named Dusty in after a risky assignment, he’s surprised to find Dusty escape from him and involve a reporter in exposing a plot called Operation Unity that caused other agents to kill a left-wing congressional candidate.

BLACKLIGHT has plenty of action, but much of it feels cliched and consists of gunfights and car chases people have seen before in other movies. Sadly, Liam Neeson is the only actor who brings any energy or commitment to his role, and the plot bounces jarringly between the action scenes and quieter scenes of Neeson trying to convince his grown daughter that he can be a safe and positive grandfather for her own child. This awkward mix winds up leaving neither half of the movie satisfying viewers, and with a few mild obscenities mixed with the violence, this is a movie that’s only viewable for teenagers and adults, yet is unlikely to impress either audience.

The movie opens on Sofia Flores, a young Latina congressional candidate who’s delivering a fiery left-wing speech at a rally before she’s the victim of a deadly hit-and-run on her way home. It turns out that the two men involved in causing her death are rogue FBI agents who’ve been tasked by FBI Director Gabriel Robinson (Aidan Quinn) with carrying out Operation Unity, in which liberals are killed (although the reasons why are left unspecified).

Travis is first seen helping rescue a female undercover agent from a mission where she’s been exposed and incurred the wrath of a group of angry rednecks. After saving her, he meets with Robinson about tracking another undercover agent named Dusty (Taylor John Smith), who’s seeking to tell a reporter named Mira (Emmy Raver-Lampmann) about Operation Unity and who killed Flores. If he can find and bring back Dusty, Robinson will allow Travis to scale back and have more time with his family.

Dusty is in jail for beating up four cops who tried to arrest him for having a gun in his car. Travis bails him out, but Dusty escapes when Travis stops to pick up his young granddaughter from school. Dusty leads Travis on a wild chase after stealing a garbage truck.

Dusty is desperate to meet with Mira, the reporter, and tell his story, but he leaves her when Travis tracks Dusty down during the meeting. Travis takes Mira under his wing, protecting her from the two rogue agents and helping her set her sights on the answers about Operation Unity. Meanwhile, Travis has to balance all his adventures with trying to be a good grandpa to his granddaughter, because his own daughter was frustrated with his frequent absences in her own childhood.

Will Travis and Mira manage to stop the Operation and bring Robinson to justice? Will Travis succeed in his quest to be a better family man?

BLACKLIGHT delivers plenty of action sequences. However, aside from the fun and highly impressive mayhem in the garbage truck chase, most of the plot consists of run-of-the-mill shootouts that stir little genuine excitement. The movie is also thinly plotted, with no explanation ever given for what Operation Unity actually is. Also, the two rogue agents chasing Dusty and Travis are just cookie cutter bad guys.

Neeson is the only actor here who shows any genuine excitement about his role. He delivers a fully committed performance both in his tough-guy moments and his tender scenes with his granddaughter. Taylor John Smith brings wild-eyed, effectively nervous energy to his role as the endangered Dusty. However, Aidan Quinn as the FBI director and Emily Raver-Lampmann as the reporter offer largely one-note performances.

Cowriter-director Mark Williams has delivered a movie that viewers have seen countless times before, often with Neeson himself as the hero. Its action violence is bloodless and light. Also, the foul language in BLACKLIGHT is fairly limited. So, the content in BLACKLIGHT is suitable for most teenagers and adults. Yet, BLACKLIGHT is mostly unsurprising and formulaic, and shines no new light on the action genre. The movie won’t impress action fans and has a politically correct liberal worldview that will turn off media-wise viewers.

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Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.