133 min - Action | Crime | Drama
Review: Kathryn Waite
It seems like January is a month of slumps. We are all getting
back into the groove of things after the fun-filled holiday season,
our schedules are back in their full swing of business, and there
is a paltry selection of decent movies to see at the theaters.
It should be pointed out that I am only speaking of new releases
in January. There is a buzz of excitement after the Academy Award
nominees are named and their films are re-introduced to audiences
who didn’t think about seeing a certain contender until
now. BUT… then there are the new releases of January. These
movies are not big enough films to be summer blockbusters, not
artistic enough to make the end-of-year Oscar releases, nor star-studded
enough to draw audiences in during the spring and fall seasons.
Blackhat is no exception to this. With slow pacing, predictable
plot points, and subpar acting, this film is enjoyable for the
first hour then is forgotten once you left the theater.
Our story follows a furloughed convict Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth),
an extremely talented hacker who has been serving a 15-year prison
sentence. He is asked by the CIA and Chinese government to help
track down a cyberterrorist who is using an updated version of
an old code that Hathaway wrote in his college years. Hathaway
tries to solve the case, but is pinned between two countries with
tense relations. The chase sends Hathaway and his team (Viola
Davis as the CIA agent, and Leehom Wang as a Chinese government
member) all over the world in hopes to stop the hacker from causing
more death and destruction.
The one redeemable quality about this movie is that it makes coding
and hacking realistically boring. There are no crazy car chases,
wild parties with beautiful women drinking champagne, or piles
of money surrounded by dancing ladies and strobe lights found
in this film. With that being said, I can see why Hollywood continues
to add those types of elements to a hacker-film. Blackhat had
scenes where the team was waiting around in dingy hotel rooms
for a call. You would think that with such quiet moments, the
writers would have focused on character development. Unfortunately,
the characters never get developed past whatever introductory
line is used when first shown on screen.
The movie is visually forgettable. Looking back on the film, I
cannot recall any location or shot that made me think, “wow,
that shot was impressive! I wonder how they did that.” It
made the coding and hacking world too realistic to the point where
you keep wanting to look at your watch and see when you’ll
be able to get back to the exciting outside world.
Blackhat is rated R for violence and some language. Since hacker
Hathaway has been locked away in a prison for years, there are
some fighting scenes and sneaky shiv attacks. The language is
very lightly scattered throughout so it does not seem like a Tarintino
film where the foul language has been condensed into a three-minute
scene. I can really only recommend this movie if you have a free
movie pass, have two hours of your life to spare, and just want
a movie that won’t make you think. If you do not fit into
all three of those categories, please move along and start watching
the Academy Award nominees now.
I give Blackhat, 1⁄2 of a computer hard drive out of five.
If you want a realistic and well-balanced hacker film, go rent
the 1992 classic Sneakers. All in all, this movie was barely enjoyable
and extremely forgettable.