Michael Flatley's 'Blackbird' savaged by critics after finally getting cinema release

Riverdance star Michael Flatley unveils new movie 'Blackbird'
Michael Flatley movie Blackbird is being unveiled. (Twitter)

Riverdance star Michael Flatley's directorial debut has been savaged by critics after finally making it to cinemas.

Blackbird - which the Lord Of The Dance star wrote, directed and stars in - was unveiled at London’s Raindance Film Festival back in 2018 but then fell off the radar.

Nothing was heard of it for a while then earlier this year it was announced that the movie about troubled spy Victor Blackley (Flatley) was finally being released after four years.

Read more: Riverdance returns to Dublin after two-year pandemic hiatus

It comes out this month but so far reviewers have given it the thumbs down.

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11:  Michael Flatley attends the unveiling of the Michael Flatley caricature at Sardi's on December 11, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
Michael Flatley wrote, directed and stars in the film. (Walter McBride/WireImage) (Walter McBride via Getty Images)

The Telegraph gave the film just one out of five stars in a review entitled "I am the Lord of the Awful 007 Rip-Off, says he".

"Michael Flatley’s acting, script and direction are all atrocious in this vanity film that staggers through every spy cliché – and then some," it said.

The Guardian also gave the film one star, saying the acting and writing were "like the non-sexy bits that come between the sexy bits in a porn film made in 1985".

Reviewer Peter Bradshaw went on: "Everyone appears to have taken extra-strong OxyContin tablets before the cameras rolled.

The UK poster for Blackbird, the debut feature film from Michael Flatley (Lord of the Dance). (Wildcard Distribution)
The UK poster for Blackbird, the debut feature film from Michael Flatley. (Wildcard Distribution)

"Each line is calculated to induce a nervous breakdown in the audience. When Michael Flatley actually has to hold up a sim card and say: 'This holds the formula – it can kill millions of people!' I had to lie down on the floor while a team of paramedics gave me oxygen."

However, a few reviews said that while Blackbird had its issues it was still quite fun.

Writing in the Irish Independent, Paul Whittingon said it was "oddly entertaining", while a review on Buzz called it "unintentionally hilarious".

Michael Flatley and his Lord Of The Dance company perform on stage.
Michael Flatley is known for Lord Of The Dance and Riverdance. (PA) (EMPICS Entertainment)

Critic Aoife Moriarty said the film "dutifully utilises every Bond cliché, stereotype and trope in the book" but that it was "so joyously lacking in self-awareness (such a rarity these days) that it's an absolute riot".

Read more: Lord Of The Dance dazzles crowd into double standing ovation

The film, which also stars Eric Roberts and Patrick Bergin, follows secret agent Blackley, who abruptly retires and opens a club in the Caribbean, before an old flame arrives and shakes everything up.

Watch: Blackbird UK trailer