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Review Lights Out (2024): Frank Grillo's Wrong Bet!

genre: action, crime, martial arts

Don't get this confused with the horror title with the same name, Lights Out (2016). The title very likely refers to the moment someone gets knocked out. This should indicate to you how deep the film is.

For all intends and purposes, it should be clear to you that Lights Out is a B film. They do get out of their way to make you think otherwise. I mean, look at the names. Frank Grillo, Mekhi Phifer, Jaime King, Dermot Mulroney and Scott Adkins. Their presence do elevate events. But that doesn't dismiss the fact that almost everything is generic. The action is decent to good and probably the main reason to watch this little flick. Still, the story is hardly compelling, nor does it do a good job of enhancing the action. The core of the story is very reminiscent of the one in Wrong Bet, a.k.a. Lionheart. Except, that film is a good example of why that one works and the one in Lights Out doesn't. You care about the main character because there is a lot at stake for him. He needs the money very badly to help out his family, while at the same time he is being haunted by military police. In essence also a very simple story, but one that gave events a sense of urgency. That urgency is not present here. Or at least not conveyed well.

Frank Grillo's character, Duffy, also seems to be suffering from PTSD. I get it, war is horrific and will damage soldiers. But apart from taking you out of the action, the flashback's didn't lead to anything significant. They were just there. All this time it looked like that these sequences would build up to some climax which never happened. Then there is the whole corrupt cop thing. There was no rhyme or reason to these cops. No depth, no substance whatsoever. Yet, they wanted you to be impressed. Trust me, you won't. Also, the film has a duration of 90 minutes. But it feels much longer. That's never a good thing.

Grillo does his best with the material that is given, but at this point you have to wonder why he allows himself to get roped into these productions. He deserves better. Fortunately, there is one strong highlight in the film. Scott Adkins. He is a scene stealer for sure. That being said, he is not in it for that long. Yet he makes it worth your while. One for a rainy and quiet Sunday

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