Oh, Liam, how did we end up here?
Hot on the heels of whatever-he-put-out-this-time-last-year, the seemingly cash-strapped or recently unfussy Neeson fronts a bland action number about an FBI Fixer, commissioned to work one last job (why of course!) for a long-time employer – Aidan Quinn, sporting silver – he suddenly realizes is a crooked, cold-blooded murderer. Car chases, gunfights and smarmy one-liners ensue.
Resembling one of my Steven Seagal’s lesser-polished DTV action vehicles of the noughties (you know the type? Usually filmed in some far-away tax-offset-friendly locale like Plovdiv, with investors and creatives more interested in how the inevitable DVD sleeve will look than the film itself) than one of the recently-crowned ageing action king’s snazzier offerings, like “Taken [insert number here]”, or the one where he takes on villains on a train, or the one where he takes on villains in a plane, or the one where he takes on villains in the snow, writer/director Mark Williams’ “Blacklight” is a hard kick in the balls for “Taken” fans.
Sure, Neeson’s recent efforts pale in comparison to the likes of his award-winning role in “Schindler’s List”, and the oodles of other serious dramas he did around the time (“Rob Roy”, “Kingdom of Heaven”, “Les Miserables”, and “Kinsey”, to name but a few), but “Blacklight” makes even the weakest of the 69-year-old’s recent action films – yes, “Battleship” included – look like a ballot-primed Malick movie. With its generic, dull story, doleful dialogue, and indolent fight choreography, there’s nothing of value here. It’s a shame, it’s been a few years since Melbourne (standing in for Washington) played host to a big-time studio blockbuster, and anyone judging the locale by this film – which doesn’t make good use of the city at all, largely setting itself in ethereal cement-clad alleys, uninhabited city streets and a sterile open office – will likely wonder why they should spend the extra money to shoot in Oz when they can easily shoot in Plovdiv for the price of a Shopska Salad and Lapdance.