Liam Neeson Flop Ignored In Theaters Is One Of Streaming’s Biggest Movies

The Liam Neeson led thriller Blacklight is one of the top streamed movies on Paramount+.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

liam neeson blacklight
Blacklight (2022)

The 2022 action-thriller film Blacklight is currently holding the number seven spot on the Paramount+ streaming service. The data comes by way of FlixPatrol, a platform that tracks worldwide viewership ratings. Directed by Mark Williams from a script he co-wrote with Nick May, the film stars Liam Neeson as an FBI fixer involved in a government conspiracy.

The story begins when political activist Sofia Flores, who passionately advocates for equality, is killed after delivering a powerful speech at a rally in Washington, D.C. The narrative then shifts to Travis Block (Liam Neeson), a Vietnam War veteran who works as a covert operative for FBI Director Gabriel Robinson. After completing a mission, Travis expresses his desire to retire.

However, Robinson hesitates to let him go and asks him to apprehend an undercover FBI agent named Dusty Crane, who goes against protocol and reaches out to journalist Mira Jones, claiming to possess information about Sofia Flores’ assassination. Evading Travis and the FBI on multiple occasions, Crane arranges a meeting with Jones at a museum.

liam neeson
Blacklight (2022)

Travis (Liam Neeson) follows Jones to the meeting but fails to capture Crane, who says Robinson orchestrated Flores’ murder. Two FBI agents fatally shoot Crane before he can reveal more details. Travis meets with Jones, who tells him about Operation Unity, a secretive FBI program overseen by Robinson that involves the unjust killing of innocent civilians like Sofia Flores.

Convinced of the truth behind Operation Unity, Travis confronts Robinson, demanding answers. However, Robinson dismisses the theory and warns him against interfering. Motivated to expose the government cover-up, Jones’s editor publishes a story about Crane’s suspicious death.

Travis’s family also goes missing, intensifying his determination to uncover the truth.

To save his family, Travis (Liam Neeson) teams up with Jones to unravel the mysteries surrounding Operation Unity. He reveals that Robinson possesses a safe in his house containing classified government secrets. Confronting Robinson at his residence, Travis coerces him into opening the safe, which unveils a hard drive containing incriminating evidence about Operation Unity.

Robinson escapes with the assistance of several FBI agents, leading to a dramatic gunfight between Travis and the agents. Travis emerges victorious, securing the hard drive, which he later uses to expose the truth. Robinson is arrested for his crimes, while Jones completes her exposé on the government cover-up. Travis finally retires from his life as a fixer and reunites with his family.

liam neeson
Blacklight (2022)

Blacklight was released in February 2022 by Briarcliff Entertainment. However, the film was a box office flop, earning a mere $16 million against its $43 million budget. The movie was maligned by critics, with many describing it as the worst film of Liam Neeson’s career. It currently holds a shocking 11 percent critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Despite its box office failure, Blacklight has found an audience on Paramount+. This is mainly due to Liam Neeson’s popularity. The 71-year-old has had a long and prolific career, with roles in famous franchises like Star Wars. 

However, his career took a significant turn after the success of Taken in 2008, which transformed him into an action star and spawned two sequels of its own.

Taken helped set the tone for “older guy” action movies, with Liam Neeson leading the cast of many films in the genre. However, some of these movies have been mediocre, with their generic fast-paced, high-stakes plots and seen-it-before action sequences. As such, films like Run All Night, The Commuter, and Honest Thief may best be left on the digital shelf.

Although Liam Neeson has played the typical “one man against the odds” archetype to death, he has also taken on roles that offer more complexity and moral ambiguity. In movies like 2011’s The Grey and 2019’s Cold Pursuit, Neeson’s characters are driven by more subtle motivations and face challenging ethical dilemmas.

It’s also worth noting that Liam Neeson’s decision to star in multiple action movies might be influenced by the demand for such films. The genre is known to attract a large global audience, and with the right story, these films can be financially lucrative. Moreover, Neeson’s involvement brings a certain level of credibility to some of these lesser-known projects.

Liam Neeson has a few more action films in the works. This includes Retribution, In the Land of Saints and Sinners, Thug, and Cold Storage.