Friday, January 16, 2015
Movie Review: 'Blackhat'
** out of 5
Rated R for violence and some language
Article first published at The Reel Place.
Director Michael Mann may not be a household name, but he’s definitely responsible for some classic thrillers over the last 30 years. He even first introduced moviegoers to Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter long before Anthony Hopkins made him iconic. There’s no doubt you’ve seen Thief, The Last of the Mohicans, or Heat, but not every outing is a homerun. His most underrated film is still the Tom Cruise/Jamie Foxx team-up Collateral. And even The Insider and Ali were decent enough biopics. Unfortunately, after the likes of Miami Vice, Public Enemies, and now Blackhat, Mann is definitely delivering some snoozefests.
In China, a power plant has just been hacked, causing an explosion and evacuation. At the New York Stock Exchange, soy is skyrocketing. Turns out, a hacker is using a RAT (Remote Access Tool) to cause the havoc. Now, China and the U.S. need the help of Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), a furloughed hacker serving time, to lay his hammer down and find out who’s behind the nefarious schemes. Along with the help of Carol Barrett (Viola Davis), the Chen siblings — Lien (Wei Tang) and Dawai (Leehom Wang) — and U.S. Marshal (Mark Jessup), Hathaway leads them across the globe from Chicago and Los Angeles to Hong Kong and Jakarta to stop the blackhat from whatever his end game may be.
If Blackhat owes any movie, it’s The Matrix. There are multiple laughable scenes the are ripped straight out of that movie showing electronic information making its way across the highways of the internet. As for the cast, only Davis seems to be having any kind of fun, but is surrounded by a supporting cast that all know how boring and dated Morgan Davis Foehl’s screenplay is. Even Hemsworth sleepwalks through every scene with absolutely none of the charisma he brings when playing Thor. But the ineptness of the writing doesn’t come as too much of a surprise from one of Adam Sandler’s cohorts. Let alone that dispatching of the main villain results in little more than slapping a “That was easy,” Staples button and his evil plans wind up completely shrug worthy and only makes the plot even more confusing.
And do not believe the advertising campaign by Universal Pictures making this look like a stunning piece of action, it is a huge bore. Running at a far too long 133 minutes, Mann’s editor should have taken another pass at the film. Not to mention that there was no way to edit out the atrocious sound mixing or the unintentionally bad dubbing whenever the Chinese characters are talking in their native language. The film also looks like most of it was shot with a phone camera. Needless to say nothing works. Everything is as luckluster as you can get. Blackhat is nothing more than standard operating procedure when it comes to January releases.