CHRIS HEMSWORTH WEI TANG VIOLA DAVIS
I already used my ‘when good directors make bad movies’ card on Miami Vice; Oscar nominated director Michael Mann followed that mishap up with Public Enemies and now delivers perhaps the biggest rotten egg of his career. Despite the fact this is Mann’s first complete film shot in digital or the brewing controversy with the musical score, Blackhat can’t even muster as much excitement in the cyber terror realm as Sandra Bullock in The Net. The technical babble edited with the uninteresting view of blinking lights and the inside of telephone wire, along with the unrealistic casting of Thor as a hacker will have this Blackhat on the blacklist.
An international investigation including the CIA, FBI, NSA, along with the Chinese Government can’t go any further without busting out convicted hacker Nicholas Hathaway (Hemsworth). When a cybercrime results in the explosion of a nuclear reactor in China, Hathaway is brought in to assist in the intricate system to locate the terrorist. Carol Barrett (Davis) is assigned to monitor Hathaway and his access to computers, and she and the rest of the crew quickly discover that in order to catch the person behind this, everyone will need to turn a blind eye.
How tired is the theme of using a criminal to help law enforcement solve a case or catch a bad guy? The script sure talks a lot, yet says nothing interesting. If you dropped someone in the theater without knowing anything about Blackhat, you would never associate any element of it with the sleek and polished work (even on his bad films) that Mann has produced. Blackhat feels like an episode of some police or espionage thriller on a soon to be canceled television series. The handheld camera action scenes reduce the little bit of intensity the film has to a laughable climax. The sound mixing is some of the worst I have seen. Mann, known to use real time recorded sound, doesn’t do the audience any favors with this terrible audio.
Things just get worse since Mann is a long-winded director. This plot travels through seemingly endless twists that offer globe-trotting to locations where Hemsworth can be shirtless or semi shirtless. Lets face it, the casting director understood this film wouldn’t even get distribution unless there was a high profile, in demand actor in the lead. The depth of the characters never reaches beyond the bottom of your popcorn bucket and the uninteresting romance is as out of place as everything else.
Final Thought - Plagued with structural and technical issues clearly visible on screen, Blackhat is the first real skunk of the new year.
By: Dustin Chase