A Chinese nuclear power plant is attacked by hackers, who shut down the cooling system and cause an accident with numerous victims. A similar attack is happening in the United States, but without consequences. The FBI, together with the Chinese Cyber Kraj detachment, is working on the case. The captain of the Chinese detachment, Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang), who studied at the MIT in the USA, recognizes the code that was used for the attack, only there are some changes. The code was once made by Nick Hathaway (Hemsworth), his former roommate, who is currently in jail for hacking. In agreement with the FBI team, Carol Barrett (Davis) and Mark Jessup (Holt McCallany) take him out of prison to help them catch the hacker responsible for the attack. Dawai’s sister Chen Lien (Wei Tang) joins the team and the chase starts.
The story is set in an interesting way, with enough premises to make this a fun and fast thriller / action. However, all that is quite stretched, and the film itself lasts two hours and ten minutes, so that both the action and the entertainment are stifled by too long. Also, the script has its omissions, some things are just as stupid, certain motives are left out and many things are somehow easily passed over, ie. they are not convincing to even think that such a thing could actually happen.
This is especially annoying when you look at Man’s directing of this film. The combination of beautiful and wide shots, with panoramas of cities, and much more represented large shots of the protagonists, aimed to make everything more realistic as in real life. This is further amplified by the real and loud sounds of weapons, vehicles, machines and the whole environment. Fast scenes with a restless and jerky camera are also in the service of reality. The action scenes of the fights are brutal and quite realistic. The music also contributes to the whole ambience. When we oppose the scenario with all that, which is in the service of the most faithful and realistic presentation of the action, we get a mix that is difficult to swallow, which cancels itself out.
A lot of space is also given to the romantic part, so let me call it, which looks like an indie romantic film, and, in my opinion, Mann was quite successful in that part because you can feel the chemistry between the lovers involved.
The cast did a pretty good job. Chris is good in his role, although many resent that such a striking actor was taken for someone who is a top hacker. Personally, I didn’t mind, but in the play itself, that character went too far, because the hacker turned out to be a super action hero capable of anything. It is not, of course, Chris’ fault and I think he did a good job, given what he had at his disposal. Viola Davis, the star of the current series How to get away with Murder, was great and she used those few minutes too well. I would also like to single out Wei Tang, who was excellent with accentuated English and the exact opposite and antithesis of Chris’ character. The two of them are a great couple for me and they did quite well in the film.
The main villain was hiding until the end and we learned little about him. There was almost no characterization of that character, no motive, nothing, but, in my opinion, a few words he uttered could explain everything. The character, lost in the virtual world, and thus deprived of emotion, does not need any special motive, except to find enough funds for his next work and confirm his reputation and himself in that virtual world of hackers.
Mann probably wanted to point out through the film the real and ubiquitous danger of a networked world, where everything is relatively easily accessible and where many can, with some knowledge of their computer and the Internet, cause great trouble, damage and even endanger people’s lives. It also makes it clear that not only is the population of hackers dangerous, but also the governments themselves, which through their supercomputers and programs can invade anywhere and take everyone’s personal data, and even misuse it.
Michael Mann presents us with a world around which there is a virtual cage of the Internet and information and where we are all under vigilant surveillance. On the other hand, the film presents another world, ordinary people who sell in the market, do physical work, cook on the street and stick to traditional things and who are not in the world of information, but such will be found as collateral damage of great players. and zero.
Through the film, he managed to sell us his intention to some extent. Also, through the film, we can see his mastery that adorned his great hits, because there are parts of the film that are really fantastic. However, when we gather the good and bad sides, we only get an average film, where the good sides are congested with the bad ones, so that they drown in the whole of mediocrity, especially if we take the length of the film. By the way, it went badly both with the critics and the audience, and at the box office it experienced a real crash, because the budget is 70 million dollars, and the film earned only about 11 million in 10 days of showing in cinemas.
To conclude, great potential, some fantastic sequences and a very bad script give in the end, and maybe even a subjective assessment.