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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Blackhat [Blu-ray]

 

(Michael Mann, 2015)

 

             

 

 

     

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Legendary Pictures

Video: Universal

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:13:34.047

Disc Size: 46,957,499,875 bytes

Unrated Feature Size: 39,638,089,728 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.98 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard keepcase

Release date: May 12th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3674 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3674 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DUBs:

DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Descriptive Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• The Cyber Threat (13:02)
On Location Around the World (9:30)
Creating Reality (17:01)
Digital Copy of Blackhat (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)
Includes UltraViolet (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Set within the world of global cybercrime, Blackhat follows furloughed convict Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth), and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta. As Hathaway closes in, the stakes become personal as he discovers that the attack on a Chinese nuclear power plant was just the beginning. Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral) directs the propulsive action-thriller.

***

An American/Chinese joint anti-cybertheft task force races to root out an elusive hacker based in Southeast Asia in this Legendary Pictures thriller written, produced, and directed by Michael Mann, and starring Chris Hemsworth.

 

 

The Film:

Michael Mann is an action filmmaker even when his characters are standing still. His movies contemplate themselves: they are simultaneously about what's happening and what it means. They're sensitive to the intellectual and emotional undercurrents swirling around the characters, whether they're running, driving, punching and shooting, or just brooding in close-up while electronic music shimmers and drones.

All of which makes him an oddly ideal director for "Blackhat," a solemn, grandiose, often ludicrous thriller in which "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth plays a buff computer hacker helping a joint team of FBI and Chinese intelligence agents chase cyberterrorists through Chicago, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Jakarta. Slick and sometimes goofy as it is, "Blackhat" is an odd, fascinating movie: a high-tech action thriller about the human condition. I can think of no better current illustration of the notion that, to quote this site's founder, it's not what a movie is about, it's how it's about it.

Excerpt from RogerEbert.com located HERE

Michael Mann’s thriller “Blackhat,” a story about the intersection of bodies and machines, is a spectacular work of unhinged moviemaking. By turns brutal and sentimental, lovely and lurid, as serious as the grave and blissfully preposterous, it combines a truckload of plot with many of the obsessions, tropes, sights and sounds that distinguish his other movies, from kinetic gun battles to cool beauties gazing into the distance in sunglasses. Here those beauties are a pair of improbable computer savants, played by Chris Hemsworth and Tang Wei, who race, jet and furiously bang on keyboards across the globe while chasing villainy, lines of code and millions in loot.

The jampacked story, pegged to a shadow hacker stirring up global trouble, could have been gleaned from the latest news. The inspiration for the script, by Morgan Davis Foehl, was an attack on the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in Iran by malware deployed through USB flash drives. The movie opens with an explosion at a nuclear power plant in Hong Kong, where Chinese officials call in Chen Dawai (Wang Leehom), who in turn taps his sister, Lien (Ms. Tang), for help and then an old school friend, Nick Hathaway (Mr. Hemsworth).

Excerpt from The NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Blackhat arrives on Blu-ray from Universal.  It's another film shot with a Arri Alexa XT (and other digital cameras.) It, predictably, looks quite strong with some interesting effects. The transfer is 1080P, dual-layered, with a very high bitrate. The film has plenty of darker scenes but no noise or other issues.  Detail is quite pleasing in the many close-ups. The visuals are very kinetic with many fast-cuts in the plentiful action sequences. I don't recall a lot of depth but this Blu-ray gives a solid presentation - probably very accurate to the theatrical presentation.

 

NOTE: The captures below are courtesy of our friend Erik Hundland on his site HERE (Thanks Erik!)

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The audio track is a barn-burner utilizing a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a bombastic 3674 kbps. Effects come out of all corners with intense depth, but the track still sounds controlled and brooding as if holding some strength in ambience. We get a cornucopia of music with a score by Harry Gregson-Williams' (2009's The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Ben Affleck's The Town and Gone Baby Gone etc.), Atticus Ross (Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) + Leopold Ross (The Book of Eli) as well as some music from Neill Blomkamp's Elysium and more. It all sounds terrific-ly tight and crisp with impressive bass and ringing high-end. There are two foreign-language DUBs, a Descriptive Audio Track and optional subtitles on the region FREE Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras :

Extras include three, interesting featurettes; The Cyber Threat runs almost 1/4 hour and delves into the cyber warfare angle of the film and its potential in today's world. On Location Around the World is almost 10-minutes and features some of the film's exotic locations in Jakarta, Indonesia, Klang, Malaysia and other spots on the globe. Creating Reality is 17-minutes and a bit more production-based. This release also has a Digital Copy of Blackhat and includes UltraViolet capabilities subject to an expiry date.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Michael Mann continues to evolve his repertoire of cinematic experience. While Blackhat may not work for some - it is a competent thriller with some subtle themes seething beneath its surface. And a highly interesting topic. The action  is abundant, if perhaps, eclipsing the narrative. Still, a deeper, richer film than would appear on the surface - it is a film I would be willing to re-watch (I've already seen it twice.) The Blu-ray provides a superior replication of the theatrical presentation with an intense audio experience. I think critics may have missed some of the film's value and the director's fanbase should definitely make up their own mind. 

Gary Tooze

May 11th, 2015

             

 

 

     

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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