‘Blackhat’ hacks into Asia with big casts

Anita Yang

��Blackhat,�� directed by Michael Mann, for Westerners is no doubt an action film as it features the invincible Thor, Chris Hemsworth. However, for audiences in Taiwan and Asia, a bigger catch of the film is seeing pop-song singer Wang Lee-hom (���O��) marching into Hollywood along with Tang Wei (����) with whom he collaborated in ��Lust, Caution�� (�⣻��) in 2007. The bold premise of ��Blackhat�� echoes events in real life �X authorities of China and U.S. working together to fight cyber terrorists. An organization hacks into a nuclear reactor and initiates a series of attacks, forcing officials from both countries to team up to halt a global crisis. Wang plays Chen Da-wai, a Chinese-American police officer who recruits convicted hacker Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) to track down the criminals. He also seeks help from his sister (Tang Wei) who later develops a romantic relationship with Hathaway. Wang’s action abilities have upgraded as his sharp glares throughout the film lend credibility to the role. His part proves that he has the potential to share a piece of the pie in the Western film industry without portraying a stereotyped Asian who isn’t fluent in English or an amusing role, as is often found in Hollywood’s male roles. Tang, with a thick accent while speaking English, does not have too many lines, but manages to charm Hathaway with her independent yet tender character in the film. Hemsworth, on the other hand, while playing the hottest nerd ever, also gets to show off his fighting skills in hands-on combat; he also performed in several pretty bloody scenes. The film was shot in four countries including the U.S., Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong in China, giving audiences a glance at local lifestyles and sceneries. During a press conference held yesterday, Wang said that what he leaned the most from the director was location scouting. In addition, both Wang and Tang spoke highly about how Mann is a perfectionist. Along with many chase scenes as well as Wang’s well-placed performance, watching ��Blackhat�� is like watching a blend of Cantonese police officer films and Western action dramas. Mann balanced the pace of the film with love and action. While layering up romance between characters played by Tang and Hemsworth, he manages not to cross the line of mushiness but still conveys the intense feelings of the two. Whether you are a fan of Hemsworth or Wang, ��Blackhat�� will not let you down. And among several well-anticipated big blockbusters released this week, this new cyber terrorism thriller certainly is a good pick. ��

Blackhat (�´U�b��) ► Directed by Michael Mann / With Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis and Wei Tang / Action, Crime / 2014 / USA / English with Chinese subtitles / 133 min. / ����������