Movie Review: Blackhat

I am not a fan of hacker movies or films where characters exchange dialog over a phone like 24. Most of them are just people staring at computer monitors, spliced with cuts to other people running, and predictable events that include a double-cross, ambush, or ruse. I avoid those movies at all costs, but if Michael Mann is directing, then I am willing to give it a watch.

Heat, Collateral, and Public Enemies are the only films I have seen. The first two were great due in part to the shootouts, but Enemies fell short in my opinion. There was nothing to hold my interest because everything felt hollow and average, like nobody cared about making a good movie. Because of those two movies, I was willing to give Blackhat a chance. Did it surprise me or was it another train wreck in this month of inevitable train wrecks?

Though not as bad as Taken 3, Blackhat is terribly boring. You could take a nap in the theater and not miss a thing. Direction and action sequences are Michael Mann’s forte, but neither makes up for the rest of the movie. To be totally frank, skip it, and see Inherent Vice. I am tempted to just end my review right here.

The story begins with a meltdown at a nuclear power plant in China. A joint task force is formed between the US and China to catch the hacker responsible. The team enlists the help of convict Nick Hathaway, played by Chris Hemsworth, a skilled hacker in exchange for lifting his prison sentence.

Mann’s signature action sequences aside, there is nothing redeemable about Blackhat.

The characters are flaccid and boring. There is no growth or change from start to finish. They serve whatever purpose the script demands to move the story along, without any regard for them as human beings. The acting may be acceptable, but if there was at least a little change, it could not be seen on the actors’ faces.

The story is by the numbers in its progression. That is not a negative when you consider most narratives are by the numbers, but they at least have a natural flow; things happen, followed by something else because it makes sense for it to happen. In Blackhat, events happen in a static, meandering, assembly-line manner, as if scenes were shot with no regard for flow, and put together in editing. American Sniper had the same problem, but because it was about a character losing his mind and based on true events, progression was not as important.

Blackhat is all story and when the characters are husks and the flow robotic, why should I care? How is any of that exciting? I had to see this not only for review, but for class.

Save your money and see Inherent Vice. If you already saw it, SEE IT AGAIN! Or better yet, skip the whole rest of the month because I do not see it getting better.


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