A former soldier looking for his way meets an ex-con who sees the potential in this man to become the best fighter in the underground fight world. Soon, they find themselves entangled in something much more complex and riskier.
Written by Chad Law, Garry Charles, and Brandon Burrows, and directed by Christian Sesma, Lights Out is a generic action film that is predictable pretty much from start to finish, something that is very much from the script on. However, this does not mean that the film is not entertaining. While action film fans will see just about everything coming from a mile away, they will most likely enjoy how the fights come together. On that front, do not go into this film expecting Scott Adkins fights left and right, while the man is top billed, he gets possibly the least screentime here of all the upper billing cast members.
The cast here is top billed as Dermot Mulroney and Scott Adkins, then Frank Grillo, Jaime King, Kevin Gage, and Mekhi Phifer, which we all know by now is a contractual decision and not actually who has the most screen time. Here, Grillo and Phifer are the leads and they do decently with their parts. Grillo gets to do the fighting while Phifer does mostly the talking. Their performances work as they are, but neither are exactly challenged here, this is what they do, and they do it well. Jamie King joins them as a crooked Detective and does great in some scenes and not so much in others. The rest of the cast is decent, but most of them are capable of much more than what they are given here.
The look of the film here is decent, showing the fight rather well, which, let’s be honest, is why most people will be checking this film out. So, making them easy to watch is important. The work by cinematographer Anthony J. Rickert-Epstein is good here, the film is well framed, well shot, well light, and whatnot, it’s on point on that visual point. When looking at the editing by James Kondelik and Brian Zwiener works at times and not at others. It’s basically uneven, showing something is off here, perhaps it’s due to having two editors, perhaps it has to do with uneven fighting skills between actors, for whatever reason, it’s a bit annoying.
Light Outs comes off as a film that was made with the idea of pleasing fight film fans but failed at giving us something original. It’s a film about underground fighting connected to something else criminal, so the story is easy to guess from there. The fights are decent, Frank Grillo and Mekhi Phifer are doing what they do, giving performances that are decent, but not their career best. Also, having Scott Adkins top billed and under-utilizing him this much should be a crime. Overall, the film is easy to watch, but also rather frustrating to watch. It has potential and makes very little use of it.