Nick Hathaway, an extremely talented hacker who has gone astray, finds his way out of a 15 year prison sentence when parts of a computer code he once wrote during his youth appears in a malware that triggered a terrorist attack in factory in China. This opportunity will reunite him with an old friend but will also put him in the middle of a power game between the American and Chinese government as well as arch villain hacker whose identity he has to find if he wants to keep his freedom and his life. Written by ithia2003
January 16, 2015
All Hat No Cattle
In Blackhat, Chris Hemsworth plays Nicholas Hathaway, a notorious computer hacker who is furloughed from a prison sentence to help the American and Chinese government stop a hacker. The hacker they are in pursuit of blows up a Chinese nuclear power plant by tapping into the cooling system and artificially manipulates the stock market to spike Soy bean futures. Joining Nicolas’ pursuit is his friend Chen (Leehom Wang) who works for the Chinese government, his sister Lien (Wei Tang) and FBI agent Carol Barrett (Viola Davis). Together they race against time to out hack the hacker to stop his next big hit.
Okay first things first, Chris Hemsworth as a computer hacker?! Has the director Michael Mann ever seen a real computer hacker before? Getting good at computer hacking requires years practice sitting in front of a computer, usually in their mothers basement. They usually don’t have time (or the looks) for things like, I don’t know, getting laid. I’m surprised Chris Hemsworth had time to make this movie, in between getting laid. That man is an Adonis. I don’t know if they were trying to make a computer hackers fantasy of a James Bond like character. Either way, Hemsworth mumbles through this performance and looks pretty, poor casting. Viola Davis has a few quality moments in this film, with her sharp quippy dialogue. Yet she looks bored and about to fall asleep through most of her performance. Perhaps she was as bored with this movie as I was.
What is the most disappointing about this movie is Michael Mann. How could a man who made such great films as Heat (1995) and Collateral (2004) give us Blackhat (2015) and Miami Vice (2006)? Since the actual act of computer hacking is boring to show, (open to man sits in front of a computer for hours) Mann came up with an almost as tedious vignette. He shows this CGI back and forth of the electronic signals being sent inside computers set to dramatic music. Even Michael Mann’s signature jumping between digital and film stock, to create artificial cinema verite seems tired in this movie.
With the recent hack of Sony Pictures and the whole Interview (2014) hoopla there is a lot of intrigue into the subject. This film takes a hot topic and puts a boring spin on it. Even the love scene in this movie was boring, missionary in the dark. What are they, an old married couple? Things really didn’t get watchable till the climax where Mann finally pushed up the violence level to eleven. Although what can you expect from a January film release, a month notorious for studios dumping their weak. If it’s your turn to pick I would strongly pass on this movie. Not even a good one to wait for on cable or Netflix.
Predictable. Convenient. Just Plain Bleh.
I really wanted to like this movie. A hacking thriller on an international scale — what a hot subject that is great to bring to the silver screen! Throw in some Chris Hemsworth and I’m in! I was a huge fan of Hackers in the 90s and was really excited to see what a 2015 blockbuster and director would bring to a story that is straight from today’s headlines!
Unfortunately Blackhat started off bad and just went down hill from there. The beginning of the film starts with a sequence of data flowing from computer router to computer router that frankly didn’t look that different that the 1995 Hackers film intro. It was extremely cliche and expected.
The movie is predictable — not 100%, there were a few surprises — but nothing worthy of remembering. The characters followed a story that was just too convenient. Every problem had a solution right in front of their face. No worries about money to travel around the globe or drones that would follow a DOJ criminal-for-hire. If we’re going to shoot for a realistic story, let’s be at least a little realistic in how it is presented.
The problem, in my opinion, is that this movie should have been a 10-12 part TV series, not a movie. It tried to fit too much onto a movie screen. College roommates back together again, criminal-turned-hero sequences, romantic connections when the world is on the line, car chases and big machine guns, money-hungry stock market fixers, FBI woman on a mission to prove herself … all solid foundations for a great crime thriller. But trying to show all of it in 2 hours — yikes! I assume the fact that the characters always stumbled on the answer so quickly was simply because the story didn’t have enough time to develop. If this was spread out over twelve 1-hour series that could develop the characters and potential hiccups in finding a world-class hacker, we would have had an interesting new TV show to watch. But this, to me, is a wasteful foundation of what could be a great story. Sometimes we try to fit too much into a story or project when we need to focus on doing one thing extremely well. If the studio / director / screenwriter picked one of the Blackhat storylines and went for it completely, this movie may have been great.
The star, Chris Hemsworth is gorgeous and easy on the eyes… that’s no surprise to anyone. He tried in this film and showed he can be a great leading man in a story such as this … but … I do feel like he was auditioning for a role in a Looper sequel. The accent tried to be a young Bruce Willis and yet again added another piece to the story that wasn’t needed. Let the guy use his accent and say he was an Australian-American. Trust me, the ladies won’t mind and the guys don’t notice. Trying to make him the next Rocky or John McClane wasn’t necessary.
Hate to say it, but Blackhat isn’t worthy of your time or hard-earned money. Maybe a home viewing if nothing else is on and you want to see a C-level 24-like story in two hours.