Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Leehom Wang, Wei Tang, Viola Davis, Holt McCallany, John Ortiz, Christian Borle
Directed By: Michael Mann
Michael Mann has a special place in the hearts of all film buffs. Chances are, you’re a fan of at least one of his works, if not two or three. He’s the director behind Heat, which most people agree is one of the best films of all time. You might also believe Collateral is deserving of that title. And if you’re a superfan, you’re either making a case for The Insider, Ali, or Manhunter. He also did the Miami Vice reboot, but if you think that’s in the “best films of all time”, you’re just mistaken.
Blackhat is just a huge letdown. It’s not a letdown because its an awful film, but because of what it could have been. Clearly Michael Mann is not a hack director. Somehow, this just fell short of the mark.
Chris Hemsworth plays a hacker who is brought in by the government to stop a cyberterrorist from doing unspeakable things. Honestly, I couldn’t follow the film most of the time. I’m still not really sure what the plot was. I know Hemsworth’s buddy (Wang) works for the Chinese government, but he somehow got the American Justice Department (Davis) to get Hemsworth out of jail to help track down a cyberterrorist who attacked Wall Street. Then, the cyberterrorist attacks again, and suddenly we’re now dealing with radiation sickness. They travel halfway across the globe to try and find this superhacker. Hemsworth almost immediately falls in love with Wang’s sister (Tang) and she instantly falls for him. The US Government doesn’t really seem that concerned with stopping the terrorist, it’s really just Viola Davis who wants to nip this in the bud. She drops 9/11 references, but in the end… why?
I thought the plot of the film was poorly explained, and it was propped up by a useless villain. There were interesting moments, and considering how crappy the plot was, the movie actually remained somewhat interesting. Even though I wasn’t really sure what the fuck was going on, I somehow remained engaged and involved in the characters. I think this script definitely needed a rewrite before filming, and probably an editor needed to take a look at how to cut the film. The biggest problem is the villain, who isn’t really revealed until the very end of the film. And when he is finally revealed, it’s a huge letdown. He’s boring, and I stopped caring.
I also never cared about the relationship between Hemsworth and Tang. It happened so fast that I felt like saying “you guys don’t really think you’re spending the rest of your lives together, do you?” It happened quicker than a Tinder booty call, and suddenly he’s being questioned by her brother and he’s talking to her about “will you still love me when I’m fixing garage door openers?” Bro, you literally just met her. Stop planning trips to IKEA and naming the dogs you’re going to adopt together. There’s a cyberterrorist. Get to work.
Viola Davis does a nice job, but is underused. Blackhat did awful in theatres, and I understand why it had no word of mouth. It’s a hard film to tell others about. I can’t really describe the plot, I thought what I did know of it was silly. All I can tell you is that I was oddly connected to this film, and interested in the outcome even though I was never really sure what was going on. That’s a rare talent, and it’s a talent only possessed by the best directors. This might be Michael Mann’s worst film, but many directors have made far worse films… as their best films.
FINAL GRADE: C+