written by Morgan Davis Foehl and Michael Mann
directed by Michael Mann
In the action drama Blackhat, a cyber terrorist causes a nuclear plant explosion in Hong Kong, then infiltrates and disrupts the Chicago financial market. What’s his master plan? The Chinese government and the FBI need answers, so they enlist convict Nicholas Hallaway (Chris Hemsworth), a brilliant hacker with a perfect body who… hahahaha!!!!
Sorry. Let me go on.
…a brilliant hacker with a perfect body who may be able to find the culprit’s hideout. Hallaway is adept at fighting with his bare hands (he sometimes uses tables), shooting guns, and killing people with relative ease. He also has steamy sex with the sister of a Chinese agent, who sees him for the wounded lost soul he is, and… hahahaha!!!!
Okay, it’s ridiculous, starting with the miscasting of hunky Hemsworth in a role that requires much more than a pretty face, and a silly script that doesn’t even bother to justify his physical prowess (one short line of exposition telling us about his past as a Navy Seal Engineer or some other excuse would have sufficed). Then again, you don’t come to a Mann film for the logic. You come for his stylish cinematography, moody synthesizer scores, and in-your-face action sequences. There’s also that artsy exploration of macho posturing that permeated Mann’s Thief (1981), Manhunter (1986), Heat (1995), and Miami Vice (both the 1984-1990 TV show and 2006 movie), which is still way more interesting than most stuff at the multiplex. Still, can’t the man get a decent writer to flesh out his stuff?
Me, I liked Blackhat‘s hyper-realistic shootouts and the climax at a parade in Banteng Park, Jakarta, with its kaleidoscopic chase among thousands of people. But they’re certainly not enough to compensate for the other two hours. Watch this for curiosity’s sake, then revisit Mann’s best film The Insider (1999).
Carlos I. Cuevas