Michael Mann has made a career of directing cutting edge stories. ‘Manhunter’, ‘Collateral’ and ‘Miami Vice’ are some that have made their mark. His output is sparse but when he creates a new movie, it’s usually an attention grabbing experience. ‘Blackhat’ attempts to be an intriguing action thriller examining the world of cyber-espionage. Whilst this isn’t anything new, Mann gamely tries to refresh the material in his unique visual style.

Nick Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) is an expert computer hacker who has been languishing in jail for his crimes. Freedom is offered when parts of a computer code he wrote is used in a terrorist attack. Tasked by the FBI to locate who is using this as a power game between America and China, Hathaway’s potent skills are needed to restore order before chaos completely reigns.

‘Blackhat’ is filled with potential which is the best thing one can say about it. The cat and mouse game between Hathaway and those behind the threat promises exciting viewing. Unfortunately the usually reliable Mann provides listless direction to what should have been a dynamic script. The action sequences feel pedestrian with Hathaway an unlikely hero in a scenario reaching breaking point.

It doesn’t help that Hemsworth is completely mis-cast. It’s a stretch seeing him as a computer nerd, complete with chiselled muscles. His physical assets are frequently seen with Hathaway in a constant state of undress. Whilst credit is due to Hemsworth for trying, he doesn’t cut it here with his co-stars equally bland, perhaps reflecting the threadbare plotting.

‘Blackhat’ is a lesser Mann vehicle. It’s frustrating as the story had the ability to offer something captivating. The world of cyber-crime has never looked so uneventful with a computer’s micro-circuits showing more personality than this feeble effort.

Rating out of 10: 4


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