After seeing the previews for “Blackhat” in theaters, I was expecting that it would be a story about a genius hacker helping the government out while another hacker takes over the world.
What I saw was instead a hacker who forgoes all of his technical abilities, and becomes an action hero.
An explosion in China and the crash of the Chicago trade markets prompt the United States and China to put together a team to find the person responsible. When the team can’t figure it out themselves, they enlist the help of Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), a former hacker who was arrested.
At first, Hathaway uses his brain and computer science skill to make progress on the case. However, after the death of his team and his hacking of a government system, Hathaway must go on the run. This is when the movie switched from an intriguing storyline to a clichéd action film.
Hathaway and his love interest Wei Tang (Chen Lein) travel around the world and track down the men responsible for the crime.
The antagonist, Sadak (Yorick van Wageningen), did all of this to crash the market for tin. He is accompanied by a mobster, Kassar, and a crew of men. After they track down the villains, Hathaway is somehow able to either shoot or stab every single antagonist in the movie.
The idea that a MIT student turned jailed hacker could be able to single handedly take down an entire criminal syndicate is ridiculous. In every action scene, the mobsters are missing easy shots while Hathaway is able to hit long distance shots with a handgun.
Director Michael Mann clearly decided to go with what he knows best—action. He must have used most of his $80 million budget on the action scenes.
Much of the blame for the poor result has been put on Mann. Chris Nashawaty, a reviewer at Entertainment Weekly, said, “Even the best filmmakers can cough up a dud now and then. Exhibit A: Michael Mann’s ludicrous high-tech cat-and-mouse thriller “Blackhat”. It’s a rare and confounding misstep from the director of such stylishly macho noirs as “Thief”, “Heat”, and “Collateral.”
Other critics decided it was a flop. RottenTomatoes.com gave the film a 30%, and the audience gave it a 27%, which is the 35th best rating of movies currently in theaters.
Similarly, IMDb gave it just a 5.6/10 rating. As of January 23th, the movie has only brought in a little over 7 million dollars.
Critic Alex Welch said,“No one is particularly interesting here, and unfortunately the fate of “Blackhat” is the same that has befallen many a January action flick: it’s a miss.”
Meanwhile, David Kimmel from New England Weekly said,“Mann’s idea of following data through computer systems leaves you thinking he’s worn out his VHS tape of Tron.”
It made for exciting an viewing experience, but it also turned a potentially thought-inducing movie into another forgettable action film.
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