REVIEW: BLACKHAT 3.5/5 By TIM DAVID HARVEY

 

CyberMann.

133 Minutes. Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tang Wei, Viola Davis, Holt McCallany, Wang Leehom. Director: Michael Mann.

Hats off to Michael! He is the man! Mann’s cinematic theatre has offered us many classics over the years from the journey of the ‘The Last Of The Mohicans’ director. There was ‘The Insider’ in all its information age drama with Russell Crowe and Al Pacino and then Pacino’s first on-screen meeting with De Niro in the hot, hit thriller ‘Heat’. A thrilling inferno that rifle rewrote how action flicks where shot out. Add his double header with Jamie Foxx in the Cruise cab confides of the ‘Collateral’ classic and the remake of his own hit, 80′s T.V. show ‘Miami Vice’, complete with Colin Farrell hair and you have one legendary director with a hell of a legacy. And who could forget his biopic of the greatest boxer and sportsman of all time in ‘Ali’? Transforming Will Smith into the champion role and title of his heavyweight career. Recently though Mann has been M.I.A., despite being known as a deeply, dedicated, prolific proficient of his craft. In a class of his own when it comes to filming blazing gun fights that soul even make ‘Dirty Harry’ holster, subtle emotion that Clint Eastwood would be proud of and some of the most vivid skylines ever captured on a digital camera that even your HD couldn’t do justice, Mann is the master. Still his last movie was a half decade back, with the 2009, Johnny Depp, John Dillinger picture ‘Public Enemies’. A Thompson gun-ho barrel load that really showed how cinematic classic this Mann could get. Still there was no escape plan then as now Mike is back like Jordan, although maybe now a Mann out of time in this superhero taken over ‘Avenger’, ‘Ultron’ age. Still that hasn’t stopped him from using the God Of Thunder to hack into the mainstream mainframe, with some new malware in the form if his latest digital, signature hit ‘Blackhat’. Renamed from its original ‘Cyber’ title, that lets face it couldn’t be more 90′s than this man himself if he had rewrote ‘The Net’.

Still you’re not waking up to no past pretense or millennium bug here. Mann knows how to keep with the times, but stay true to himself here with a film for the core Apple generation that have switched and swiped out keyboards for smartphones. In uploading Hollywood’s hottest star, via an Australian download, he knows how to network and gain new followers too, as he hands the keystrokes to the man that carries the hammer for ‘Thor’ in ‘The Avengers’, Chris Hemsworth . A man set to have another monster year like his ‘Dark World’ sequel and racing ‘Rush’ of 2013. With this, his Ron reunion ‘In The Heart Of The Sea’ and of course his latest round of hammer time with Marvel, which should once again be a super-charged thunderbolt to the scorching Summer cinema campaign. Here however, Hemsworth shines like never before beyond the biopics or by the comic-books, showing more of himself…and yes ladies that does mean whipping his top off once again if some of this boy toy action gets too boring. Trust me it doesn’t, neither does the slow burning tension of dramatic action captured on a lens that reflects how much Chris can act on a personal level with just a grimace or gesture. Michael Mann’s close-ups with the likes of Foxx and Farrell, zoomed into more of these young actors range and depth. Helping them reveal more of their face cards in the gamble of Hollywood poker playing performances. The same now goes for Hemsworth who plays a great hand. Even if his biggest will remain with the ‘Avenger’, ‘Huntsman’ franchises and Howard films, this ‘Hat’ will wear wonders for his career . Showing him as an accomplished actor in black and white with only a few grey area pictures of perfection amongst his big name and game players. Another critical component for both the young Hemsworth and the veteran Mann’s career catalogue, this is a dynamite dynamic explosion of depth and neon darkness, that truly shines with substance matching the sublime style of a man that scores his soaring cinematic films with a subtle Zimmer like shimmer.

In this Mann versus machine debate-in this tech age that Michael digitally embraces-he wins. Bursting through firewalls and layers of code, all the way down to the filmed circuits of the mother board. Hemsworth’s hacker character rewrites his own career code, but he does so with a group chat of a cast that will make the message boards go crazy. In a love reminiscent of Farrell’s beautiful, but tortured, ‘Vice’ gripped romance in ‘Miami’, young actress Tang Wei falls for our lead hard and what ensues is layers of love, running through this screen-time of a film that’s other connections and conflicts are at an arms length cursory, cursor distance. Viola Davis also brings yet another supporting standout to all the years recently that she’s helped punctuate her peers. Yet not much can touch this act of her career arc. Action man for hire Holt McCallany also beefs up the meat and potatoes of this action flick. Whilst singer/actor Wang Leehom shows he has more amazing acting skills to a web of strands of talent, for the performer who mixes rap, rock, jazz and even Broadway to his signature style. Add a hallmark Mann favourite in the great, but underused John Ortiz and you can see this film has it all. In all its neon light, camera angels and amazing action. With this old-school thriller of a new world disorder of cyber warfare, Mann writes himself into the lexicon of the moviemaking equivalent of novelists like Clancy, Connelly, Patterson and Grisham. Authoring a classic career comeback, his style is still perfectly honed. From subway station chases to the orchestration of gun fights as loud and grand as a phantoms opera…and if that wasn’t enough for you just wait until the parade of a perfect grand finale. Lets hope we don’t have to wait another five plus years for the next Mann, because this is one ‘Black’ Friday everyone should search for. This ‘Blackhat’ has enough vice city, collateral heat to keep up with this cyber time and tide. In the advances of technology in this digital age of life and art, this application is an androids dream. TIM DAVID HARVEY

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