IN STEP: Hemsworth and his love interest are on the run in this scene from the film.
Today's global and relentless generation of computer-hacking savants may think they are top-shelf stuff when it comes to what they do, but their talents probably pale in comparison to that of Nick Hathaway, whose skills are so superlative that they more or less become his get-out-of-jail-free card.
Doing time in a maximum-security institution for his cyber-related crimes, Hathaway becomes a prime asset of the US government when a series of power-plant bombings rock China and threaten US relations with the Asian territory. As it turns out, the perpetrator behind these unprecedented cyber-generated attacks is a maverick who expertly manages to avoid leaving a trail for investigators to follow.
So begins a hunt that spans Chicago, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Tokyo to track down this mastermind before another attack claims hundreds of lives and further cripples diplomatic relations. That's basically the premise of Blackhat, the latest effort by director Michael Mann, and while it doesn't rank among his finest work, like, say, the excellent Tom Cruise/Jamie Foxx thriller Collateral, it has intrigue, fascinating accounts of international espionage, and an ideally cast leading man in Thor's Chris Hemsworth.
Having worked his way up the Hollywood ladder to household-name status and action-packed blockbusters like Thor and The Avengers, Hemsworth practically has his pick of parts these days. So while it's a surprise to see him tackling the angular role of Hathaway, he plays the part impeccably, with a mix of manly-man bravado and the cunning typical of career cybercriminals.
But, as the actor's portrayal suggests, Hathaway is at heart a decent guy who's made some bad choices and is paying the price for his misdeeds. That said, Blackhat can also be viewed as a film about second chances, and it vividly explores Hathaway's redemptive qualities. So while the movie (which also gets strong turns from Viola Davis as a lead investigator and a couple of Asian actors) is largely a hit-and-miss affair, thanks to his compelling story coupled with his amazing cyber skills on full display, the film is never less than watchable. Tyrone's Verdict: B