A near-catastrophic nuclear reactor breach at a Hong Kong power plant sets the stage for "Blackhat," a glossy tech-thriller from director Michael Mann (2009's "Public Enemies") that works through its unnecessary tangents and shaggy subplots by sheer force of its filmmaking prowess. When there is a leader at the helm who knows what he or she is doing, their assured professionalism can go a long way in smoothing out a host of potentially detrimental shortcomings. It also helps that Mann and screenwriter Morgan Davis Foehl never talk down to their viewers, trusting that they will be able to follow the absorbingly circuitous narrative even as ricocheting technical jargon flies freely amidst the characters' interactions.
With the cryptic cyber intruders responsible for the meltdown just getting started with their treacherous extortion/eco-terrorism plot, no-nonsense FBI official Carol Barrett (Viola Davis) and Chinese agent Dawai Chen (Wang Leehom) haven't a moment to spare. They need to find a computer-savvy ace who will help them smoke out the so-called blackhat's identity, and Dawai is certain that their man is Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), a former college friend currently serving thirteen years in prison for a hacking scandal. Equipped with an ankle bracelet pinpointing his every move, Nicholas agrees to accept a furlough under the condition that he be set free if he helps to catch the culprits. His precarious mission will take him to China, Malaysia and Indonesia as he and Dawai's sister, network engineer Lien (Tang Wei), edge closer to the truth behind the malware attacks.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review