When an unknown hacker starts to create worldwide panic when a nuclear facility in China is combusted shortly followed by the American stock market, Chris Hemsworth – convicted hacker genius – is brought out of prison to help the American and Chinese governments tack down this hacker.
There are some very interesting ideas in Blackhat, and some very strong set pieces. However, it is far too long. There is definitely enough material here to create a strong 90 minute thriller. Unfortunately Blackhat is just over 130 minutes. And it’s also not hard to see where time could have been cut off. The sort of romance between Hemsworth and Wei Tang could definitely have been cut entirely. It adds nothing to the overall film other than, I presume something romantic to have in the trailer. It’s also underwritten at best. Mann could have probably cut down some of the cgi navigation of circuit board bits. Because while I admire what they were meant to be doing, I personally found the low level of cgi off-putting and after the first time I just found them a little dull and irritating.
I did liken parts of Blackhat, I thought Chris Hemsworth was very solid as was Viola Davis. There is one chase sequence in particular that is very dynamic and holds you on the edge of your seat. However I felt there was a central conflict within the film over whether it wanted to be a nuts and bolts thriller, or a technological drama about hacking and its power. Unfortunately I don’t think trying to do both of these things really works. I just never really found a way into the film. While I admire Mann’s craftsmanship I just didn’t really enjoy the film as a whole. It’s impeccably made and looks very striking in parts, it just wasn’t engaging enough for me.
Overall, I respect what Blackhat is trying to do. I just don’t think it succeeds. But it’s an honourable failure.