Michael Mann, acclaimed director of Heat, The Insider and Collateral, is starting 2015 off with his new cyber-thriller, Blackhat. The American and Chinese agencies work together to capture a cyber criminal who seems unmotivated by politics or finance, as he seeks to cripple the international banking network. With the help of convict Nicholas Hathaway, Chris Hemsworth, the authorities pursue the mysterious figure across the world, hoping to stop him before his real plan happens. What sounds like a good action flick, ends up being an over two-hour revenge flick that is so boring, you long for death.
It would come to no surprise that a Michael Mann movie is long and slow. But Blackhat takes all that to a whole new level of boredom. Mann, who has been making movies since the late 1960s knows how to make a good compelling movie, but maybe it’s time for the director to set sail for The Gray Havens and retire, because this was terrible. And a director that has such a great career should be remembered for his great movies and not his latest ones.
The main issue with the movie is that nothing really happens, and when things do happen, you just don’t care. There are only three real action beats in the flick and they’re lukewarm at best. Surrounding those “action beats” is allot of talking. I mean, allot! And most of it is not interesting or understandable to someone who doesn’t know the little nuances of international computer hacking. The dialogue is filled with so much hacking jargon you swear there speaking a different language. It just doesn’t make for an interesting movie, no matter how good the actors are that are saying it.
Enter Chris “Thor” Hemsworth playing the part of Nicholas Hathaway, a computer hacker that has spent the last few years in jail. Yes, it is unbelievable that Hemsworth looks the way he does and could be hacker. Even the filmmakers knew this, so multiple times during the movie they had Hemsworth talk about working out his body and mind while in jail. Hell, at one point they even had him start working out, just so you would understand why he looks they way he did. Is this something we have to expect now? Hell, in the 80s Arnold never was explained, he was just there. It felt so forced and very unneeded.
Hemsworth does a good job. He’s a good actor and knows how to work with whatever he’s been given. It’s just that his character isn’t very interesting of a person to follow here. He’s rude and has a chip on his shoulder that the movie tries to explain at one point, but it never really come across well. Nor does his American accent; it’s passable, but not great. Now and then certain words remind you he is not American. The movie takes place all over the world and deals with many countries, there was no reason to make him American, he could have just spoken normally and it would have been more believable.
Viola Davis plays Hemsworth handler. She works for some US Agency, CIA, FBI or Homeland. A role she has played many times before, so it does come second nature to her to be this type of character again. I can only imagine she wanted to work with Michael Mann, because other than that she has no reason to be in the movie. Her character is two dimensional at best, they try many times to give her a third dimension, but they stop just shy of making her relatable. She comes in barking orders, doing what she does best and then leaves. It’s a shame for someone who is so talented to be wasted in a role that could have been great with just a few more steps.
As said above, there is little to know action in this movie. The trailers lead you to believe this is some sort of cyber thriller with some action in it. It starts off as a cyber thriller but turns into revenge James Bond type movie towards the third act, and not a good Bond flick. It’s all talk and set up for a pay off that once happens, you still feel indifference to. The whole movie feel like a first draft that desperately needed another few passes to bump the script.
No one is defined or given a chance to grow as a character. Everyone character is surface deep with no motivation, the filmmakers are hoping because you’ve seen other movies you can finish the puzzle on you own. By trying to meet you half way the movie slowly moves and weighs you down to where you’re about to fall asleep. The villain of the film is so unimportant that you never seen him until the end. He brought no scary voice or any threat. You never felt like Hemsworth was going to lose. The only real character in the movie you understand by the end is the computer virus itself, only because so much time is devoted to showing it or hearing about it so much. Hell, we see the virus doing bad computer things so much it’s should have gotten second billed.
While your sitting in your seat, trying not to fall asleep with boredom, you know what doesn’t help? Is the appalling score by Harry Gregson-Williams and Atticus Ross. The score is so slow and full or recycled sounds from Ross’s other scores. The music never once feels like it belongs in this movie, or any movie really. Music is something you should only notice and remember is its amazing or bad. And here it is the latter. The score is so ripped off from other scores you just feel angry at how little care was put into it. They even go as far as doing a smaller version of that goddamn Inception BOOM sound. No more of that! Put that to rest Hollywood!
Over all if you’re looking to watch a Hemsworth action flick, your better off watching Thor or Rush, because this movie doesn’t do anything for him. Except make you want to watch his other movies. This was boring from start to finish and really insults you as the viewer who came to a movie to see a Michael Mann movie. This was a massive let down and not a good start to 2015.