Blackhat (2015)

(Video on Demand, June 2015) Blackhat is not a great film, but it’s interesting largely in how it tries to assimilate contemporary innovations in a standard thriller template.  Sure, here we have a tainted protagonist trying to catch a bad guy before he wreaks more damage.  But we also have sequences trying to portray computer hacking, delving deep into machines, whizzing along the bit-flow and trying to portray how bytes of information sent with evil intent can cause physical damage and human misery.  It takes an audacious director like Michael Mann to even try that kind of stuff, and it’s also why, despite the film’s generally hum-drum impact, it’s worthy of a look.  Fans of conventional thrillers should at least get basic satisfaction from the way the film moves around the world, pits a dangerous hero against an unknown opponent and delves a bit into information security minutia in-between the more conventional chases and gun battles.  The I.T.-Security lingo sounds OK, but it matters more that Blackhat can benefit from Chris Hemsworth’s charisma, as well as good supporting performances by Viola Davis, Leehom Wang and Tang Wei.  Never mind the leaps of logic in seeing the cyber-criminal protagonist suddenly become an action hero –the film is more realistic in its details than in its overall plotting.  The end result is muddled, but there’s enough good in here to sustain interest. 

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