Monday, January 26, 2015

Movie Review #206: "Blackhat" (2015)

Movie"Blackhat"
Ticket Price: $7.00
Director: Michael Mann
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 13 minutes
Image Source
A hacker attacks a nuclear power plant in China, shutting off its pumps which causes an explosion. Next, he hits the Chicago commodities market and drives up the price of soy and, in effect, steals millions of dollars. The Hong Kong government sends Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang) to work with the U.S. Department of Justice to uncover this cyber terrorist. The hacker is using a Remote Access Tool, or R.A.T., implant his malware into these systems. Chen Dawai suggests they contact the programmer who wrote the R.A.T. to help find the hacker. That programmer is Chen Dawai's old MIT roommate and convicted felon Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth). Nick agrees to find their hacker in exchange for a commuted sentence, provided that he's successful.  

My, how the mighty have fallen.

Michael Mann used to be a respected director that made excellent films like "Heat," "The Last of the Mohicans" and "Collateral." Apparently, long gone are the days where he could make a successful film because "Blackhat" opened at number 11 this past weekend at the domestic box offices. #11! That's pitiful, but for a good reason. "Blackhat" also sucks hardcore and for many reasons. First, it is way too long. Second, not only is it way too long, but it is also slow as hell. I mean, we've watched paint dry faster than this movie. Not only does it drag through its run time at a snail's pace, but it tries to compensate over this horribly slow speed by throwing technological jargon at its audiences over and over again. By overusing this computer science 101 jargon, the dialogue actually sounds more stupid than smart. Third, since Chris Hemsworth is Thor and everybody loves Thor, logically, by proxy, everyone loves Chris Hemsworth. He is bloody awful in this movie and we know he can do more. He's also worth more. He can't keep his accent worth a damn. It's also obvious that he has a contractual obligation, much like his brother Lesser Hemsworth, to take off his shirt at least twice in every single movie. I never thought I'd say this, folks, but there were too. many. close-up. shots. of. Chris. Hemsworth. in. this. movie. It was distracting, and not because he is pretty, but because Michael Mann is obviously focusing on his sunglasses and his hair from the back and his side-glance and his pecs and mouth and eyes for dramatic emphasis, not for fluidity or purpose. Fourth, the audio and sound mixing in this film, as well as the dubbing over people's voices, is blatantly the worst we have ever seen, at least in the last decade. This is coupled with the fact that, even when the actor's faces are slightly turned off-screen, it's clear that they are not moving their mouths and jaw even though their voices are playing through the theater's stupid speakers. We can tell when the actors are not moving their mouths, guys and gals! It's not rocket science! In one scene about 10 minutes into the movie, Chris Hemsworth's voice goes from really really quite to extremely loud all in the course of about .4323846 seconds. Fifth, for the second time in January, we have an action movie that feels like it will accomplish something other than making audience-goers sick by using a handy-cam or Go-Pro in parts of the movie with intense movement. There's a scene in the middle of the film where Hemsworth, et al. run down a corridor and through a bunch of alleyways in an attempt to catch a bad guy and it seriously made me nauseous. This scene also goes on entirely too long, and if we had to guess, we'd say it lasted over 4 minutes in total. Reign it in! Sixth, Hemsworth isn't the only one off his game here. The typically fierce Viola Davis isn't even enough to make this movie worthwhile. Seventh, from the minute we see Chen Lein (Wei Tang) on screen, we know that filmmakers are going to force a love story between her and Hemsworth on us. Their "love" is not believable and it's not relevant, it's just completely shoe-horned into the film in an effort to make Hemsworth fulfill said contractual obligation. Eighth, the trailer for this movie is really misleading. We can't expand upon this without giving away what little semblance of a plot this movie tries to have at the end, so we'll just quit while we're ahead. Ninth, filmmakers attempt to evoke sympathy from a completely unnecessary 9/11 reference towards the end of the movie for no damn reason. This is not a huge plot point and isn't even explored again after the scene where the line is first uttered, so why include it in the first place? Using 9/11 to get a rise out of audience members is just lame at this point.

Bottom line, avoid this muddled piece of crap at all costs. It's simply a disaster and feels sloppy from the get go. Just because you like Chris Hemsworth and/or Michael Mann does not mean every single film that they do is going to be good. And just because the topic might be timely and pertinent to our current state of affairs doesn't mean it's going to accomplish anything it sets out to do. This is absolutely the case with "Blackhat." This is one of those times where we're glad we didn't pay full price to see this film and may have even walked out of in the middle of the movie otherwise. At least "Taken 3" made us laugh ironically, this almost put us to sleep.

My Rating: 3/10
BigJ's Rating: 3/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 31%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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