You guys ever seen Murphy’s Law starring Charles Bronson? I’ll disregard the obvious “No” answer to that question and bulldozer my way to my point. Liam Neeson is Charles Bronson. Charles Bronson is Liam Neeson. Ever seen them in the same room? Didn’t think so. Waaaaayyyy back in the yesteryears of the 80’s our boy Bronson had ridden his Death Wish franchise fame to what wikipedia refers to as his Cannon Films era. We are sitting in the Cannon Films era of Liam Neeson (having ridden the Taken franchise to this point). More often the Cannon Films era films of Bronson were things like Assassination, which is pretty terrible as it meanders its way through a cookie cutter plot with an aging star (and I mean actively aging before your eyes). Then there are things like Murphy’s Law which is batshit crazy and I loved every second of it. So this is where we are with Neeson. Every time we watch one I’ll be asking myself, “Is this Neeson’s Murphy’s Law?” and then hope we haven’t yet turned the corner to the Final Years era of Neeson with whatever ends up being his Family of Cops trilogy.
To recap, Liam Neeson is a fixer. But that’s not exciting enough for a film. Let’s try that again, Liam Neeson is a fixer who also has OCD and wants to retire to spend more time with his granddaughter. Ah, much better. But there is something afoot in D.C. that he has to take care of first. After a congressional candidate is murdered in an intentional hit and run, an undercover agent attempts to leak it to a reporter. Neeson is tasked with bringing him in. On the way to doing so, Neeson stops by his granddaughter’s school to hang out a bit and ends up losing the agent. Oops. Later on, after the agent attempts to contact the reporter again, he is shot and killed by government agents in front of Neeson. Neeson is a bit peeved at this and confronts the FBI director about what the agent was leaking to the reporter. Namely, that the director has an operation that kills civilians who interfere with the government. The director is like “don’t worry about it” and brushes him off. Neeson is pissed and becomes even more pissed after his family goes missing and the reporter’s boss is killed for publishing the story. He breaks into the directors house and forces him to hand over evidence of the operation. This goes south from there, but Neeson is able to escape with the evidence. Using this evidence he is able to get the director arrested and get his family back (who turns out were just in witness protection, oops). THE END.
On a scale of Not Murphy’s Law to Murphy’s Law I declare Blacklight… drumroll… Not Murphy’s Law. Really not even all that close. Very much an Assassination type vehicle. Cookie cutter plot spiced up a bit with some mild OCD for our boy Neeson. Overall feels closer to a television pilot than a feature film. Honestly, there isn’t even all that much good to say about it other than they blessedly abstained from giving rickety crickets Old Man Neeson a love interest in the film. He’s just an old man who wants to spend more time with his granddaughter. Phew.
Hot Take Clam Bake! Neeson’s daughter is kind of right. He’s not a great presence in his granddaughter’s life. His OCD does seem in control, and I don’t really see so much harm in him helping her understand self-defense and staying safe. But… like… he’s also kind of an assassin. He killed a bunch of people in the movie and also ended up getting them dropped into witness protection. Just not really feeling that part of it. But you do you, guys. Go fly that kite and keep having some sleepovers. I’m sure your part in taking down one of the most important people in D.C. won’t come back and bite you. This is actually why they can’t make Blacklight 2. Just too sad when Neeson’s daughter has to be like “Told yah so. I’m going to have to ask you to stay away for a while… at least until you totally murder everyone trying to murder you at the moment… who’s that again? The President? Cool cool cool.” Hot Take Temperature: Sweet BBQ.
‘Ello everyone! Blacklight? More like Why Are They Making this Old Man Run Around and Pretend to Be an Action Star? Oh Wait, That’s Liam Neeson?! Amirite? It is actually a bit distressing watching Liam Neeson run, but more on that later. Let’s go!
- Oh boy, Liam Neeson cannot run. And not like, Liam Neeson looks like he runs slow. Or like Liam Neeson runs funny. But like did Liam Neeson blow out both knees right before filming? That is the level. He’s actually not as old as I thought he was. But then again, my perception of his age was 100% based on how he looks like when he runs so I was figuring he must be 103 or something.
- Zing, sorry Liam, still love you, but put your feet up for a year, or maybe go to Germany for experimental stem cell treatment. Something. You need some cartilage in those knees brother.
- Enough about Liam Neeson, let’s talk about this movie. This movie represents everything wrong with films in 2022. I will take no questions on this matter, thank you.
- Fine, I’ll explain. Way back when when someone wanted to make something on the cheap they called Roger Corman or Dino De Laurentiis up, who called up a director who could work on the cheap, and they slapped something together with cheap effects. But those effects? They had charm. They were real, visceral things cobbled together by special effects artists (emphasis on “artist”). And sure, they looked cheesy, but there is an undeniable charm to something like Conan the Destroyer where it sometimes looks like crap, but also is just wild crazy shit and undeniably fun.
- This? Slow moving cars moving around empty streets. Fake explosions, fake fights, and fake gunshots. And a storyline might as well be a ripped-from-the-headlines episode of a Dick Wolf television show. The construction of this film makes me sad. Because this is precisely the type of film that AI is going to generate in 10 years. And no one will really be able to tell the difference. Except Liam Neeson will run like a 20 year old when the AI makes it (zing).
- I liked a few of the actors in it though, although add Taylor John Smith to the list of actors who might as well not have a face, that’s how interchangeable he is as a leading man.
- Also this might be the worst third act of a film I’ve ever seen, it is nonsensical garbage.
- I’ll leave you with my two favorite moments from the film. First, and I mentioned this in the preview, but there is something special about a little girl calling the action hero of the film “grandpa” right to his face. It probably speaks to the dire situation Hollywood is in that 60-year-old Tom Cruise and 70-year-old Liam Neeson are still starring in action blockbusters in 2022. The second one is that one of the side characters is a British person, and in his introductory scene he’s watching some footy (soccer to you Yanks). He is quite frustrated with the game, and at one moment bursts out “no no no no!” and throws a pen at the screen remarking “I lost a few quid on that one.” The intense moment portrayed on that screen? Stock footage of a soccer player passing a ball into the backfield. That’s it. Some poor intern was asked to add football to the screen and didn’t really think about what should actually go there, or (more likely) was given $0 and 15 minutes to do this task and winged it. Regardless, incredibly entertaining stuff.
- Definitely a Setting as a Character (Where?) for DC. And I’m going to give it a MacGuffin (Why?) for the little zip drive with all of the “evidence” on it that the bad guys are really really concerned about. I think this is a tried and true BMT film because there are just enough weird shit in it to work for me.
Make sure to check out the sequel Blacklight 2: Ultraviolet in the Quiz. Cheerios,