**********Warning the following article may contain spoilers. You have been Warned!*******************
A furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta.
I am not going to lie I am probably going to drop spoilers about this movie in the following review. So if you have an inkling of seeing this movie without being spoiled I would just skip this review and move on.
I went into this movie nervous about how I was going to review this movie, most people don’t know but I do have a degree in Cyber Security so my major worry was am I going to be able to catch all the hacking references they put in this movie. I shouldn’t have worried. This movie isn’t really a hacking movie, yes there are two hacks at the beginning of this movie you don’t see the code but some make believe this is how pathways work in the digital world that goes on too long that I was getting bored I can just imagine people that don’t really care that much about computing were thinking.
So we get the Chinese who just had one of their reactors hacked pair up with the U.S. due to the U.S. having the same type of hacking happen against them earlier but were able to stop it. So both governments decide to work together to try to figure out who is doing this and why. Oh but wait the Chinese Captain Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang) decides they need his old M.I.T college roommate Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) who is supposed to be a master hacker but now resides in jail. Which okay it could happen since supposedly part of the code the blackhat ( in case people don’t know black hat is a term meaning a person hacking with malicious intent) is using was co written by Hathaway and Dawai back when they were in college. But the simple fact that afterwards there is very little hacking in this movie or that they really show you. It turns into a detective movie with them trying to track this black hat down, oh and Hathaway goes with them everywhere and sometimes without his mandated U.S. Marshall. There is no reason to have a hacker consultant following or taking point into crime scenes.
Then lets talk about the acting and editing of this movie. This movie is more of a B rated movie than the A rated movie that they try to spin it off as. The editing is bad in this movie from a lot of clip scenes to the pace of this movie is slow. And don’t get me wrong I could understand the slow pacing of this movie if it was more focused on the true aspects of hacking instead of trying to be a gunfight/police drama. Then they make the old Hollywood mistake of the guns never run out of ammo. You never once see or hear a gun empty, you never see the people have clips on them or changing them. Also Hathaway the hacker is not just a hacker but great at hand to hand as well as shooting. And then the dialogue in this movie, not talking about the hacker speak they got most of that correct at least the most I caught, even the coding though I am not a coder looked to be correct but the rest of the dialogue just seemed over the top or just thrown together. I don’t know if I should blame the writers or the way this movie was edited. Oh and then with everything else this movie has added they decided what they really needed was a love story, so when at least you will get some eye candy with Thor/Hathaway out of his clothes for some of this movie. But it is an element that didn’t need to be in this movie.
Spoiler here we get to see really two hacks in this movie and don’t get me wrong these two types of hacks are used a lot and have a lot of success. But the first hack we see is a phishing attack on an NSA Cyber Security person. Hathaway sends the man an email from his supervisor telling him he needs to change his password due to him having dealt with the U.S./Chinese team and the email has a short cut to change his password. Guess what he does? Yep. Clicks the link which happens to be hiding a keylogger in it which grants Hathaway access to the system the team needs to put some information together. Yes phishing is a successful way to get information from users but with all the things that have been happening in the world with unauthorized access and hacking attacks it is very unlikely that an NSA Cyber Security person is going to click on that link. The second attack that they use is a social engineering attack which is always very successful in the world. The use Dawai’s sister who is also Hathaways love interest in the movie to get a guard to attach a thumb drive into his computer which then grants them access to the systems. This I really do not have a problem with it is a good way to get your code into a system and happens a lot.
With the amount of movies coming out on January 16th I can’t recommend this movie. Go see American Sniper instead it is a much better movie and you won’t be disappointed. Or go see the Wedding Ringer if you are looking for a good comedy.
If you have seen the movie leave a comment below let me know what you thought. Did you think they got this movie right?
Wait for the DVD.
16 January 2015
Morgan Davis Foehl, Michael Mann (screenplay), Michael Mann, Morgan Davis Foehl (story)
Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Wei Tang, John Ortiz, William Mapother, Sara Finley, Holt McCallany, Jason Butler Harner, Ritchie Coster, Yorick van Wageningen, Tracee Chimo, Leehom Wang, Spencer Garrett