Blackhat

"Good"

Blackhat Review


Michael Mann doesn't make standard frantic-pace thrillers (see Heat and Public Enemies); he prefers to work at a more controlled stride, so while this hacking adventure-mystery is intriguing it also feels a bit plodding. Yes, the film erupts now and then into a viscerally exhilarating action sequence, including a couple of astonishing shootouts, but over the course of two and a quarter hours it barely builds up a head of steam. And it's further frustrating that the intriguing characters never quite emerge as real people.

It opens with a cyberattack on a Chinese nuclear power plant, after which Captain Chen (Wang Leehom) heads to America to consult with FBI Agent Barrett (Viola Davis), urging her to get the one man who can solve this case: Chen's former MIT roommate Nick (Chris Hemsworth), now serving 13 years in prison for hacking. On supervised release, Nick heads to Hong Kong with Chen and Barrett, plus a minder (Holt McCallany) and Chen's computer-whiz sister Lien (Tang Wei), who immediately catches Nick's eye. As they secretly begin falling for each other, Nick indulges in a lot of illicit computer work to trace the attack to ruthless thug Kassar (Ritchie Coster) and his shadowy boss Sadak (Yorick van Wageningen). But they're based in Jakarta, and the FBI has no jurisdiction there.

Aside from some cheesy inside-the-computer animation, Mann makes the film look sleek and stylish, dropping clues into each scene to fill in the bigger picture about what is happening. And when an action set-piece breaks out, the film becomes urgent and gritty, with handheld camerawork and a breathless sense of peril that suggests that no one is safe. On the other hand, the script asks us to believe that Hemsworth's imprisoned computer geek can suddenly become a full-on action man, with astonishing gun-handling skills, the muscly precision of a Hollywood stunt man and the ability to out-strategise both spies and super-villains in a massive climactic showdown in a crowded city square.

This transformation never rings true, and only makes Hemsworth look unconvincing in the role. He still has terrific presence, but Mann reins in his flashy-beefy personality so much that he comes across as dull. So the romantic subplot feels implausible and pointless. But then all of the characters are so opaque that they barely seem to exist. Meanwhile, the film's main message appears to be a warning that even the most locked-down computer system is vulnerable to a hacker with a USB stick or a mobile phone. This is quite a chilling thought, and it would have carried a bigger kick if the film didn't feel so muted.


Blackhat Trailer

 



Blackhat

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 133 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th January 2015

Box Office USA: $7.8M

Budget: $70M

Distributed by: Universal Studios

Production compaines: Forward Pass, Legendary Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Fresh: 39 Rotten: 91

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Jon Jashni, Thomas Tull

Starring: as Nicholas Hathaway, as Carol Barrett, as Chen Lien, Leehom Wang as Chen Dawai, as Alex Trang, as Alonzo Reyes, as Rich Donahue

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