Sound Off: Michael Mann's Hacker Thriller 'Blackhat' - Your Thoughts?
by Alex Billington
January 16, 2015
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "To you this is just a game, the virtual world!" Director Michael Mann is back with his latest action-thriller Blackhat (once known as Cyber), starring Chris Hemsworth as a blackhat hacker named Nicholas Hathaway, recruited by the government to help them solve an attack on a nuclear power plant in China. The cast includes Leehom Wang and Wei Tang as his Chinese cohorts, along with Viola Davis and Holt McCallany representing the US side. The hacker movie was produced by Legendary Pictures, and is now in theaters. So is it any good? Is it even worth seeing? Is it another hit for Mann or not? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on Mann's Blackhat.
Spoiler Warning: We strongly urge everyone to actually see the film before reading ahead, as there may be spoilers below. We also encourage all commenters to keep major spoilers from the film to a minimum, if possible. However, this is an open discussion from this point on! Beware of spoilers, don't ruin this movie!
To launch this virus, I'll start by saying Blackhat has an abysmal script, utilizing some of the worst cliches possible (all the romance, the villain, the twists), yet it still makes for an oddly entertaining movie. It feels like Michael Mann trying to do some sort of James Bond movie, with exotic locations aplenty, starring his big, brutish thug spy, complete with point-at-map-then-go-there moments of absurdity. It's almost a remake of Hackers, with a guy who gets out of prison helping out the government for a deal, right down to server room scenes with giant towers of flashing computer boxes. Then it becomes Mann's Bond and has fleeting moments to enjoy, but is also too long, too slow, and never leads to anywhere exciting. Yea it kind of sucks.
The other thing that really bothered me is how much the film is the product of the deal Legendary Pictures has with China. Its been reported before that the Chinese government mandates a number of specifics with regards to films, and this spends probably 2/3 of the time in Hong Kong or China somewhere. But there's another impact that had on the film - the white dude must get the insanely beautiful Chinese girl, who is a badass but also just sexy enough to keep everyone intrigued. Seriously, every last moment with these two was ridiculous, it all felt staged, so phony, so much of the forced "you better have a girl to hook up with" cliche that annoyed me this time. At least the hacking, when shown, is legit just not that impressive either.
So what did you think of Michael Mann's Blackhat? Impressive thriller or one gigantic mess?
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