5.5/10 Coming in with a super low 8% on Rotten Opinions, I lowered my expectations thinking that due to the critical consensus, that I was in for a nightmare. It is believable too seeing as how Liam Neeson action films have been very hit or miss over the past 15 years or so. While his latest outing ends up being completely mediocre and forgettable, I have a theory as to why the critical feedback might be far lower than what it deserves to be. It is a well kept secret in Hollywood that the CIA and other three letter federal agencies actually work hand in glove with Hollywood film studios. Sometimes the military might work on a film to ensuring accuracy since many people in Hollywood have no idea how the military really runs, which makes total sense. Details need to be realistic in films so audiences who do know about certain subjects won’t be turned off by how inaccurate things are. Other times though the CIA or FBI will want plot points in scripts changed to ensure that they aren’t shown in a negative light. America’s CIA, NSA, DOJ and especially the FBI are corrupt to the core, with the FBI’s corruption dating back to its inception with J. Edgar Hoover. The plot of this movie revolves around the corrupt FBI killing innocent civilians and silencing whistleblowers, two things the FBI has done in real life but also something they surely don’t want mainstream movies to highlight. “Film critics” (I use the term loosely) often coordinate on how to review films (something I will never do here at Top Pun Reviews), instead of just going off of a film’s quality alone. My hypothesis is that since this movie surely didn’t get the seal of approval from the FBI, that many critics would slam this movie harder than it deserves for not following the approved narrative. All that being said, there are some valid criticisms of this movie. The action choreography is nothing special, supporting characters are barely developed, the score, production design, costume design and direction are vanilla, with predictable moments throughout. As I stated earlier, these problems add up to what becomes fairly forgettable, especially when there are so many better Neeson action films (many start to blur together by this point). On the positive side, any movie that highlights the massive corruption of the American federal government (and the alphabet boys working within it) gets points just for keeping said corruption in the public eye and mind. There is a sweet dynamic with Neeson’s character, Travis Block, and his granddaughter, even if the granddaughter’s dialogue doesn’t sound in any way how a real child would speak. The climax of the movie is a lot of fun to watch with some “Home Alone” vibes thrown in. A subplot with an actual journalist (anyone remember when we used to have those in real life?) was strong as we get to see Block actually get a full character arc with some solid growth. This movie doesn’t need to be seen in theaters and feels much better suited to watch at home (its poor box office results back this up). It won’t blow you away and Neeson has certainly made much better action films but if you need a well paced action movie to act as cinematic comfort food, you could do a lot worse.

#LightOfColor / #CopBlock / #AttackTheBlock2 / #MiraMiraOnTheCall / #CentralNarc / #HonestDebrief

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