Okay, all you naysayers out there. If Chris Hemsworth isn’t playing in a Thor movie, there isn’t any interest, right? Wrong. Hemsworth’s 2015 movie Blackhat is trending as the #2 movie watched movie on Netflix all across the globe.
Blackhat stars Chris Hemsworth as computer hacker Nicholas Hathaway. We find him sitting in federal prison, serving time for the computer crimes he committed. While he’s been in, a nuclear power plant in Hong Kong has exploded and the Mercantile Trade Exchange in Chicago gets hacked. It is then determined by the FBI and China’s People’s Liberation Army cyber warfare unit that the hacking was caused by a remote access tool (RAT) that Hathaway and his college roommate Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang, who is now a Captain in the People’s Liberation Army, wrote the code for. Hathaway’s release is negotiated so he can be out to help find the mastermind criminal responsible.
Hathaway and Dawai are immediately on the trail of the mastermind. They are to meet the hacker’s partner at a restaurant, but they never show. As the hunt continues, Dawai enlists the help of his sister Chen Lien (Tang Wei), with who Hathaway begins to develop a relationship. Their hunt leads them to Hong Kong, then to Jakarta, and finally Malaysia.
Hathaway, Dawai, and Chen then learn that the initial nuclear power plant explosion was only the prelude to something bigger. The true goal is for the criminals to sabotage a large dam in Malaysia that has huge spillways. These spillways would then flood the tin mines, allowing the criminals to make a fortune purchasing tin options.
When Hathaway finally comes face-to-face with the criminal mastermind, Sadak (Yorick van Wageningen), not everyone will be standing or even left standing. Does Hathaway have what it takes to stop the dam from exploding? Will Dawai and his sister be there to help?
Michael Mann, a master of the crime thriller, directed Blackhat from a script written by Morgan Davis Foehl. Mann’s resume includes the vastly underrated Manhunter, which was based on the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon that had Brian Cox starring as the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecktor before Sir Anthony Hopkins sank his teeth into the role. Mann has also seen time in the director’s chair on films such as The Keep, The Last of the Mohicans, Heat, Ali, and Collateral.
Okay, back to our initial statement of Chris Hemsworth, Thor, and bombs. When Blackhat premiered in January of 2015, it was a disaster. The film opened at #11 and never got any better. It brought in a mere $4.4 million its opening weekend, making it one of the worst movies to ever debut in over 2,500 movie theaters. The box office take was so bad that after only two weeks, Universal decided to pull the film from all but 236 theaters. On its $70 million budget, the film brought in only $19.7 million. So, maybe Hemsworth may not be as big a draw in films not involving his Mjölnir-wielding superhero. His Avengers co-star Robert Downey Jr. seems to have that same issue.
Critics were particularly turned off by Mann’s direction of Blackhat as well as the story that put Chris Hemsworth in the center of it. They found the piece uninspiring with a lack of action or focus. Kevin Maher of the UK Times said of the movie, “It’s not very good. Some of it, in fact, is downright awful.” Not all saw it the way Maher did as Jason Bailey of Flavorwire said, “This is not a film about tight plotting or slam-bang action, but about style. Pure, hypnotic, mesmerizing style.”
While fans didn’t flock to Blackhat in 2015, they sure have found it and Chris Hemsworth in 2021 on Netflix. Perhaps it’s because another of Hemsworth’s Netflix movies, Extraction, was such a smash hit on the streamer that fans are looking at Blackhat with keen interest.
Chris Hemsworth is no stranger to the action film genre. Of course, he is best known as Thor, but the buffed actor has also spent a little time hanging out with Trekkies as George Kirk in the Star Trek reboot and Star Trek Into Darkness. He has also been seen in the thriller A Perfect Getaway, Snow White and the Huntsman and its follow-up The Huntsman: Winter’s War, the remake of the 1984 hit Red Dawn, Bad Times at the El Royale, and Men in Black: International, all with their own levels of success.
Chris Hemsworth will next be seen in the sci-fi actioner Escape from Spiderhead and then return to what he does best in Thor: Love and Thunder. Hemsworth then will take his talents to the Mad Max spin-off Furiosa and is set to follow that up with his take on the life of wrestling icon Hulk Hogan. There is also talk of Hemsworth going back one more time in Extraction 2.
For now, continue to prove that Chris Hemsworth can draw an audience when he isn’t playing Thor. Check out Blackhat on Netflix.