With Blacklight exclusively hitting theatres on February 11th, there’s no better time to look back and find similar films to scratch one’s Liam Neeson action itch. But it’s not just the recent glut of Neeson shoot-em-ups that are worth a view.
As it turns out, each of the primary Blacklight cast members have been in at least one other project that is more than worth the viewer’s time. From long-running, reputable TV or streaming series to indie or blockbuster films, the cast of Blacklight is a hard-working group of individuals.
Aidan Quinn (Gabriel Robinson) – Legends Of The Fall (1994)
The actor behind Blacklight‘s probable villain was also in one of Brad Pitt’s best movies: Legends of the Fall. In Blacklight, Quinn plays FBI director and longtime friend of Travis Block (Neeson), Gabriel Robinson. His role is significant, perhaps second only to the lead.
In Legends of the Fall, Quinn portrays Alfred Ludlow. A responsible young adult, and future congressman, Alfred more or less oversaw his brothers Tristan (Pitt) and Samuel (Henry Thomas). When a mysterious young woman threatens to break their brotherly bond, things spiral out of control, and Alfred, a veteran, is forced to again take up arms.
Taylor John Smith (Dusty Crane) – Sharp Objects (2018)
Before he stars in the hotly anticipated adaptation of Where the Crawdads Sing, Taylor John Smith will go toe to toe with a fist throwing Neeson.
Before either project, though, Smith had a major role in the Gillian Flynn adaptation miniseries Sharp Objects, starring Amy Adams. He portrayed John Keene, the older brother of one of the series serial killer’s victims. He’s accused not only of incest with his late sister but of killing her as well. Things only get muddied further when he starts sleeping with Camille Preaker (Adams), the series protagonist.
Emmy Raver-Lampman (Mira Jones) – The Umbrella Academy (2019-Current)
In the 2022 film, Emmy Raver-Lampman portrays Mira Jones, a reporter for a D.C.-based news site. She has the power to bring the whole conspiracy to light, save Block, and bring the people responsible to their knees.
Throughout her time on the series, Emmy Raver-Lampman’s Allison Hargreeves has been responsible for some of The Umbrella Academy‘s best fight scenes. Also called Number Three, Hargreeves has the ability to influence impending events by saying “I heard a rumor.” Allison is a fan-favorite character of the show, and Raver-Lampman’s performance goes a long way towards making the show’s crucial camaraderie element believable.
Claire Van Der Boom (Amanda Block) – Hawaii Five-0
In Blacklight, Claire van der Boom portrays the daughter of Neeson’s character, Amanda Block. A focus during the film is her belief that her father is a poor example for his grandchild. She and her daughter’s kidnapping are what sets the revenge-fueled plot into motion.
In the 2010 revival of Hawaii Five-O, van der Boom portrayed Rachel Edwards, the ex-wife of Danny Williams (Scott Caan). She was a major part of the series, considering her move to Hawaii is effectively what set the series’ plot into motion.
Yael Stone (Helen Davidson) – Orange Is The New Black (2013-2019)
After having portrayed one of Orange is the New Black‘s main characters, Yael Stone will take on the role of Helen Davidson in Blacklight.
While her role in the Neeson film isn’t clear, she played a big part throughout the run of Orange is the New Black as Lorna Morello. Morello was an opinionated inmate with a heavy heart and a sordid past. Before getting locked up, Morello was used to designer outfits and jewelry, but upon arriving at the prison, she experiences a rude awakening.
Mel Jarnson (Sofia Flores) – Mortal Kombat (2021)
Before Mel Jarnson took on the role of Sofia Flores in Blacklight, she played the winged Nitara in 2021’s surprisingly effective Mortal Kombat.
In the Liam Neeson actioner, she plays a slain anti-government protestor. Her death is effectively what sets the plot of the film in motion. While her motivations, as well as the cause of her death, are initially unclear, it seems easy to assume that her character will be nicer than her Mortal Kombat villain.
Liam Neeson (Travis Block) – Cold Pursuit (2019)
Taken essentially led to a Liam Neeson action renaissance. The European abduction movie came out in 2008, made bundles, and there was a three-year wait for Unknown (2011). Then 2012 had The Grey and Taken 2, both of which were successful in their own right.
2014 was the big year for Neeson action features, with Non-Stop, A Walk Among the Tombstones, and Taken 3 either being solid films, box office successes, or a combination of the two (Non-Stop). Then there was Run All Night (2015), The Commuter (2018), Cold Pursuit (2019), Honest Thief (2020), as well as The Marksman and The Ice Road (both 2021). Aside from Honest Thief and the Taken sequels, all of those movies work to various degrees. The top, though, would have to be Cold Pursuit, which managed to elevate itself above standard Neeson action fare.
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