‘Blackhat’ could have used a complete reboot

Michael Mann’s “Blackhat” is long on atmosphere and attitude, but short on logic.
In this cyberterror thriller, Mann tries to replicate the vibe of his earlier works, mostly notably “Miami Vice.” No matter how many cool poses the director shoots with his star, Chris Hemsworth, it fails to ignite the spark Mann aims for.
“Blackhat” is one of those movies that takes the long way around the barn. The story could have been told in a quick and crisp 90 minutes, but Mann stretches it out with unnecessary close-ups of his actors looking intense or shooting each other meaningful glances.
The entire effort looks moreblackhat 2 like the “Sexiest Man Alive” fashion shoot than a movie.
Plus, Mann’s ultimate point is rather murky: Is he critiquing how the global community is so interconnected because of the Internet? Or is he warning of the potential threat computers can create?
If so, he’s a little late. Just ask the NSA, which plays a part in the film, or Sony pictures, for that matter.
The movie feels very out of date as if Mann recently discovered the power and potential of computers.
Hemsworth plays Hathaway, a furloughed hacker recruited to help Chinese and American law enforcement officers find the cyberterrorist who initiated a nuclear meltdown as well as manipulated the soy market.
And what is this evil genius’ ultimate aim? World domination? Collecting billions in extortion? Not so simple.
When you learn his motive, it is such a letdown that you scratch your head and ask, “Really?”
“Blackhat” crawls along as Mann intersperses a few violent gun battles just to rouse the audience out of its stupor.
The film is tedious, preposterous and probably the weakest film Mann has directed. It lacks spark and life.
The opening sequence in which Mann takes us into the guts of a computer looks like an outtake he ripped off from “Tron.” You expect Jeff Bridges to pop up at any moment.
He compounds this felony by repeating it, as if we didn’t get it the first time through.
The film’s finale is not only totally unbelievable, but also poorly staged.
“Blackhat” is a typical January release, a film that a studio uses to fill a vacant play date. We would have been better served if someone hacked the film and hit the delete button.

Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at Reel Bob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

1 star out of 4
(R), graphic violence, language, sexual situations