Black Hat


Movie:  Black Hat

Rating:  2 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:  For all of you non-computer savvy folks out there (like moi), a “blackhat” is a computer hacker who violates computer security somewhere because they are malicious, or just out for personal gain.  In this film, some evil genius sics some malware into a Chinese nuclear plant and kaboom, meltdown.  Then some other bad things happen, such as Wall Street going bonkers over soy shares (whatever they are).  The Chinese government and the U.S. government come to a mutual meeting of the minds, and agree that some bad ass computer geek is out there getting into supposedly secure computer systems and wreaking havoc for some unknown purpose.

What are the two super-power nations to do about this crisis?   Bring in their top government geeks?  Uh, no.  The Chinese computer whiz, Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang) recognized the code in the malware as code created by friend and former college roommate Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth).  Chen figures only he and Nick can save the day.  The only problem is, Nick got himself locked up in the Gray Bar Hotel for 15 years for some unfortunate illegal computer misdeeds.  But never fear, high levels of government intercession spring Nick, and the chase is on to find this really bad Blackhat.

I really had high hopes for this film after seeing the trailer, and knowing it was a Michael Mann film (credits include TV show Miami Vice; movies Heat, and The Insider).  Plus the film has a darn good cast.  The premise was interesting, but the plot goes off the rails about halfway through the movie.  It starts out as one kind of story, and then takes the easy way out and becomes a common place shoot ’em up flick with crashes and things that go BOOM.  Late in the movie, there was a plot point reminiscent of the movie Chinatown.  (If you figure it out, send me a comment).  Sorry fans.  I made allowances for the great cast; this is really a 2 star flick.   On the plus side, there were some nice views of Asia, especially Hong Kong at night.

Actresses To Watch:  Viola Davis is wonderful in any role.  Too bad she doesn’t have much to work with in this movie.  Also, Chinese actress Wei Tang is terrific.  For you fans of foreign films, if you haven’t seen “Lust, Caution”, do yourself a favor and see her in this Chinese film.

Huh?  What The….:    In a scene late in the movie, Hemsworth is prowling around in a heavy jacket with a thick scarf around his neck, while everyone else must be warm because they are wearing T-shirts.  He should have looked rather suspicious, don’t you think?

Since when do government agents stand out in the open with pistols to shoot it out with bad guys with automatic rifles, instead of fighting from a position of cover?  Just saying….

Dialogue Nuggets (slim pickings):    “I want you to commute my sentence.”

“How badly do you need this guy?”

“When I start thinking about anything it vanishes, disappears.”

“The real hit is still to come.”



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