Blackhat was directed by Michael Mann, and featured nice shootouts, exotic locales in Asia, and a gorgeous lead actress. Those are all some of my favorite things in movies. And Blackhat still managed to be the most aggressively boring movie I’ve seen in a long time.
Blackhat follows convicted hacker Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) as he joins the FBI and the Chinese military as they work to thwart a hacker who caused a Chinese nuclear reactor to meltdown in exchange for his freedom.
That one sentence summary already makes this movie sound more awesome than it actually was.
In the opening scene, we see the workers of said nuclear reactor go about their day as usual as the virus comes in. We zoom into the computer’s processor continuously until we see the hack enter the computer in the form of electronic pulses. While I know that’s ultimately how computers work, it was when I saw that (one of the first things to happen in the movie) I decided I hated the movie already.
Flash forward to when Chinese Army Captain Chen Da Wai (Leehom Wang) and his sister Lien (the lovely Tang Wei) join forces with the FBI to stop this hacker, and Nick meets Lien. Clearly from the movie poster, Nick and Lien were meant to be the main screen couple, but they had absolutely zero chemistry with each other. In fact, they have sex after maybe 15 minutes of time onscreen with each other.
While the script was ultimately at fault for doing this, I feel like Chris Hemsworth would lack chemistry even if he was reading the greatest script since Citizen Kane. Hemsworth was easily the weakest link in Blackhat’s cast. That hurts even more because he was the lead. My only other exposure to Hemsworth was his performance as Thor in The Avengers, but that was ok because he didn’t actually have to do a lot of acting. He left that in the more capable hands of Robert Downey Jr.
Romantic (or otherwise) issues aside, Blackhat lacked any real tension. None of the cast (or the audience) felt like anything was at stake when doing what they were doing. In fact, Da Wai was so disinterested he walked into Nick and Lien after their romantic night together without batting an eye. “Oh my God man, he porked your sister, don’t you care?!?!?!?”
Blackhat was also a movie that most definitely outstayed its welcome, clocking in at about two and a half hours long. The scenes where we see characters just looking at things could’ve been cut down to save more than thirty minutes of runtime.
All in all, even despite the presence of the beautiful Tang Wei, I would suggest giving this movie a pass. There’s a reason it wound up in the January dumping ground of movies. I’m only hoping 2015 goes up from here.