Black Hat.

A little research will show that director Michael Mann has never had a movie open up in the month of January. He’s put out a good number of high profile movies such as “Heat” and “Collateral” so it would be odd to have one of his movies come out this month since this is the usual time for real garbage movies. Sadly, his newest movie, “Blackhat” opening today, January 16 is perfectly suited to come out this month.

The one thing “Blackhat” has going for it is that it is currently topical since one of the themes of the movie is about computer hacking. After a cyber attack cripples a factory in China and hits the stock market, the Chinese and American governments turn to a genius hacker (Chris Hemsworth) currently serving a prison sentence to help them track down whoever is behind assaults and stop them before they can execute their end game plan.


Michael Mann is no stronger to making long movies and “Blackhat” clocks in at two hours and fifteen minutes. In the past, Mann’s movies were easy and a pleasure to sit through, but this movie is just too long. Worse, in all this time the audience rarely gets invested in what’s going on in the picture. You don’t really care about Hemsworth’s character too much or his co-stars. The main bad guy is barely developed at all! You get to know his henchmen better, but no as characters, they just have more screen time. If you don’t have a good villain, chances are you will not have a good movie.

If you are not very familiar with computers, some of this movie may go over your head. Mann even takes some shots where you can see what is happening inside the cyber world, but a network engineer will be able to follow it easier. The audience may know what a PDF file is or a RAT (Remote Access Tool), but it gets so technical sometimes it’s almost surprising the characters don’t delve into what a packet is and how it travels along the difference layers of the OSI model. It’s doubtful many moviegoers knows what that is. Go ahead and click the hyperlink, you still may not get it. That’s how far on the tech side this movie goes. This is from first time screenwriter Morgan Davis Foehl. It would not be surprising to learn if he held more than a few computer certifications.

You might have hoped a Michael Mann movie coming out in January may be a diamond in the rough in a month known for releasing bad movies onto the public. Any hope of that is dashed with “Blackhat.” The good news is that the month is half over. Perhaps better movies are on the horizon.