Film Review: Hacker Thriller ‘Blackhat’ Has a Finger on the Enter Key

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – A speedy film project can take about a year from conception to final cut; director Michael Mann’s wired-in thriller “Blackhat” might as well have been written, shot, and cut last month. Not just because of its epilogue to the rise and defeat of the Guardians of Peace, but for its modernity. This is a tale of headline action specifically for January 16, 2015 and onward, in our new period of cyber terror. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

A thoroughly international project that reckons China’s importance to the American industry, “Blackhat” is the story of a co-investigation between the United States and China. A Hong Kong nuclear power plant and Chicago’s Mercantile Trade Exchange have been attacked, nonetheless by a no-name, no-motive menace who has hacked into their systems. A Chinese official named Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang) works alongside cyberterrorism agents in the FBI (played by Viola Davis and John Ortiz) to track the menace’s previous coding. Dawai insists on enlisting the person who initially created the code found at the crime scene - his former MIT buddy Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), who is currently serving time in prison. When Hathaway negotiates that his assistance in capturing the hacker will lead to his release, “Blackhat” takes off as an international code-writing thriller, with this grab-bag team chasing code clues, in hopes of preventing the hacker and his heavily-armed team from unleashing even worse worldwide chaos.

Providing the main attraction most likely to woo viewers to “Blackhat” more immediately than the term cyberterrorism, Hemsworth is an agile fit for the new archetype of non-Zuckerberg hacker. He begins as a type of classic hero, playing mind games in order to achieve his furlough, all with a confident, John McClane-like smirk on his face. But as “Blackhat” assumes full form as an international hacker adventure, his energy is in tune with what can make Mann’s film great - the charisma to carry viewers through the movie’s 2.0 action of internet adventuring, navigating the fury within the world’s modern dangers. He is just as physical with a desktop keyboard as with his fists.

“Blackhat” opens everywhere on January 16th. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Leehom Wang, Viola Davis, Wei Tang, John Ortiz, Ritchie Coster, and William Mapother. Written by Morgan Davis Foehl. Directed by Michael Mann. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Nick Allen’s full review of “Blackhat”

Photo credit: Universal

StarContinue reading for Nick Allen’s full review of “Blackhat”

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