Hack job

When you're running down the up escalator, sometimes it seems like you'll never reach the bottom.

When you're running down the up escalator, sometimes it seems like you'll never reach the bottom.

Rated 1.0

Turns out, Chris Hemsworth isn’t all that interesting when you take away his hammer, strip off his cape or disguise that bitchin’ Australian accent. He’s actually quite the dullard.

Or such is the case with Blackhat, an atrocious cyberspace thriller from the normally reliable directorial hands of Michael Mann (Heat, Public Enemies).

Hemsworth plays Nick Hathaway, a hacker convict doing time in a maximum-security prison. When a hack job leads to an explosion at a nuclear power plant in China, authorities let Nick out of prison under the condition he find the hacker and save the day. If he fails to find the hacker, it’s back to prison, where his hair will still look spectacular despite not having access to premium hair care products.

Upon leaving prison, Nick instantly becomes some sort of super detective. Joining forces with Chinese former roommate Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang), Nick can shoot bad guys and beat the crap out of attackers in a restaurant even though he lacks any real training. I guess doing some years in a big prison automatically makes you sharp with a Glock and hand-to-hand combat. Most hackers lack Nick’s innate super detective skills, but they will kick your ass in Call of Duty and Snickers eating contests.

Mann and Hemsworth make the fatal error of having Nick be American. This means Hemsworth must don an American accent, something he cannot do without sounding really, really stupid most of the time. There are moments when he sounds Midwestern, others where he sounds like he’s from Long Island and then those other times when he sounds like he’s from Australia because he can’t do an American accent.

This is one of those movies where the actors are often mouthing words different from the ones we hear because of sloppy looping and editing. One or two slips in a movie might make sense, but this one looks almost like it was dubbed in another language at times.

It’s also a movie where … everybody … speaks … really … slow … and …growly. The pace of this film is sluggish, and the likes of Viola Davis—who plays some sort of FBI agent type person—just growl and look annoyed the whole damned time. The movie clocks in at over two hours. I would say there was about 30 minutes worth of plot-worthy material stretched out to over two hours due to the slothful pacing. Somebody seriously needed to light a fire under this film’s ass.

As many film aficionados know, Mann does super cool shootouts in his movies. This film has a couple, and they qualify as the only things worth watching in the movie.

As for the subject matter, Blackhat feels old before it even starts. When is somebody going to figure out that one of the last things we want to watch as moviegoers is the sight and sound of somebody tacking away on a computer keyboard? Much of this film is people typing, which is so dynamic I just can’t stand it!

Nick gets a love interest, because a movie where somebody doesn’t try to make out with Thor is implausible. It takes something like 15 minutes of knowing each other for Nick and Chen Lien (Wei Tang) to get it on. Who can blame her, really? Hemsworth’s shirt is often unbuttoned, revealing his Marvel-worthy chest. This is accompanied by those heavenly bangs hanging down the side of his head in strands of just the right length. Oh … I’m getting distracted.

It’s early, but I’m going to go ahead and say that I hated Blackhat enough to suspect it will make my list for worst films of 2015. If it doesn’t, bravo to those 10 idiots who manage to make movies more moronic than this one in the next 11 months. That, in a sad way, will be a significant achievement.