Directed by Michael Mann.
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Wei Tang, Viola Davis, Manny Montana, Wang Leehom and William Mapother.
A furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta.
On paper, hacking sounds like an exciting activity to partake in. However after watching Michael Mann’s latest directorial effort Blackhat, maybe it’s not such an exhilarating hobby to have. Either that or he had no idea what he was doing making this movie and depicted cyber terrorist hacking in the most boring way possible. I think I’m going to stick with the “this movie sucks” theory.
All throughout Blackhat lie desperate attempts to make the thrills come across with intensity, but it fails at every corner. Most notably are some very cheesy CGI special effects that show various wirings and electrical circuit boards fueled with electricity, as the camera moves through all of their parts before zooming out to show our main antagonist pressing the enter button on his keyboard. Oh, so flashy! If anything, it’s an unintentionally hilarious and awful method at trying to showcase backing as something hip.
Furthermore, none of the hacking beyond an explosion early in the film comes with any interesting consequences. When you find out the villain’s grand scheme you are almost left in shock that that’s really it, and that there isn’t anything more sinister up his sleeve. Blackhat is a movie with an incredibly boring antagonist, but I have no idea which was more snooze inducing; watching him roll out his evil deeds or watching Chris Hemsworth sneakily go through equally boring hacking procedures to bring him down. Seriously, half this movie is characters talking about the most mundane of things, like what the terrorist’s IP address is and how to figure it out.
Beyond that, the hacking is neither realistic nor outlandish enough to be entertaining. Like everything else in the movie it is simply boring and leaves you clamoring for the next action sequence. To be honest though, none of those are that great either and boil down to either a standard face-to-face fight or gunfight that is wholly forgettable. There is only one cool battle in the entire movie, and it’s at the very end.
Blackhat also suffers from having a heavily predictable narrative involving pointless romantic sub-plots that don’t feel realistic, a numerous amount of obvious characters that will die, and your typical Hollywood blockbuster happy-go-lucky ending. The only thing that will keep you guessing is how much longer the boredom will last. The answer is a long time, as the film is overly long at a whopping 2 hours and 13 minutes.
What’s most disappointing about Blackhat though is that this is a movie with a premise that with some decent writing, could have had something interesting to say socially. The movie is essentially about pardoning someone from prison that is a hacker, to fight an even more dangerous cyber terrorist. The script is too worried about tedious technical discussions and bland shootouts to do something like that though. Instead it’s just ” Chris Hemsworth has fallen in love so he’ll be a good guy from now on after catching this criminal and getting his pardon”.
Let’s look on the bright side though, Chris Hemsworth is in almost every scene, and he’s a good-looking guy to look at for over two hours, especially with a knife in his hand. Nevertheless, I don’t think he should quit his day job as Thor. Blackhat muddles the line between trying to be realistic and action-packed fun, but instead comes across as a potential cure for insomnia. If you are seeking entertainment from hacking just Google some news stories on Sony; most importantly though do anything but see Blackhat.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. He currently writes for Flickering Myth, We Got This Covered, and Wrestle Enigma. Follow me on Twitter.
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