Check out our review of this Michael Mann thriller about a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners who are tasked with hunting a high-level cybercrime network that takes them from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2015
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 134 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French DTS 5.1, Spanish Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Tang Wei, Ritchie Coster, Holt McCallany, Wang Leehom
Directed by: Michael Mann
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams, Atticus Ross
Written by:Morgan Davis Foehl
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 12, 2015
"You are no longer in control"
Set inside the world of global cybercrime, Blackhat follows released convict Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth, Rush, Snow White & the Huntsman.). In a not uncommon move, Federal law enforcement recruits a former blackhat hacker, currently in Federal Prison, to aid a war they will launch against a cyber criminal network, operating worldwide from an unknown base somewhere in Asia. It will take them from Los Angeles and Hong Kong to Perak, Malaysia and Jakarta. As Hathaway closes in, and as unanticipated consequences have made it all personal, he discovers the cyber sabotage of a Chinese nuclear power plant was just the beginning.
Blackhat seems relevant in today’s cyber powered world where criminals with the technical chops could certainly have their way. Seeing the premise, cast and director I saw plenty of potential for an intelligently crafted thriller and at the onset felt that it had possibilities. Alas, as the story progressed it became evident that wasn’t to be the case. Blackhat is a cat and mouse mystery crime thriller with fair levels of intrigue that are dispensed via a style over substance narrative approach ultimately doesn’t hold water.
The problem isn’t a conceptual one as I liked the context of the plot. The characters have solid potential but are never truly fleshed out. There is a rather silly romantic subplot that comes on too strong and too soon which impedes flow. The potential found in the various elements introduced is really quite good however their exploration would bloat an already full runtime. At well over two hours I couldn’t help but feel that too much time was wasted on inane moments rather than devoting more time to shaping a more thoughtful and ultimately intriguing crime/mystery thriller.
At the end of the day Blackhat is passable but not especially memorable and fails to capitalize on its topical subject and decent cast.
The rating is for violence, some language and brief sensuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
Blackhat comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
This is a solid video presentation that boasts plenty of high level detail, bold use of contrast, deeply saturated colors, and three dimensional acuity. Blacks are punchy with good dynamic range and discernible gradational highlights. Visual perspective in low lighting and darkened areas is estimable. The combination gives dark scenes appreciable dimension. Images are snappy, boldly colorful, clearly drawn, eye catching and perfectly suited for the source material. Any softening is innate and strictly limited to the film’s visual style.
The lossless soundtrack doesn’t consistently engage the entire surround platform however it has moments where it energizes the room and reproduces the source elements with aplomb. Dynamic range is very good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. A large portion of the film has little need for this as dialogue, atmospheric ambience and musical enhancement is conveyed with little fanfare. However there are several sequences that engage the entire system to briefly produce entertaining and room filling sound that is measurable. I had an issue with dialogue where there were times where it lacked presence and sounded as if it was mixed too low. I noticed on a few occasions (the scene where Hathaway meets with the state’s attorney in the prison room is an example) where dialogue volume went from audible to nearly inaudible. I am not certain of the reason for this but it’s quite noticeable. When this wasn’t an issue dialogue reproduction was fine.
- (HD) Creating reality – 17 minute featurette
- (HD) The cyber threat – 13 minute featurette
- (HD) On location around the world – 9 minute featurette
- Bonus DVD
- Digital HD Copy
Blackhat is a watchable but ultimately forgettable cybercrime thriller that had excellent potential but suffers from a mediocre and overlong script that left me wanting. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, fair lossless sound quality and a decent supplemental package that looks behind the scenes. If you’re curious Blackhat is worth a rental on Blu-ray.
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JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
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