For the third weekend of January, moviegoers with a penchant for drama will have a choice. It's between Michael Mann's [Blackhat](movie:867422) or P.T. Anderson's Inherent Vice.
It pains me to say this considering Boogie Nights is one of my all-time favorite movies but I would skip the overbloated Vice – a drug movie which only sports three joints and a bag of coke - and go see Blackhat. Where Anderson’s movie fails to deliver as a stoner comedy without jokes, Mann’s film is an action movie that delivers the action it promises.
Considering this is the internet and everyone LOVES the ever-living crap out of lists, here are three reasons why it's best you skip Inherent Vice and give Mann's film a try. For all us who are poor and don't have secret political contributions from the same green energy companies that keep Castro alive, this list will save you a good $12.95.
Chris Hemsworth is an Original Action Hero in Blackhat:
For all the years you avoided action films because they're so damned overplayed, you can hop back on the Blow-Shit-Up-In-Movies-Because-We’re-America bandwagon. Blackhat has a lot of cool things going for it, but the main attraction is leading man Chris Hemsworth. The unusually in-shape hacker makes women weak in the knees with his 6-inch pecs - arms that could only be described as pythons - able to wield a god's hammer and a petite girlfriend he ends up taking to bed in more than three continents.
That's just one dimension to him. Did I mention that when he isn't sticking his enemies in the skull with a screwdriver he's a genius hacker? Probably the best way to describe Hemsworth in this is that he's Chuck Liddell meets Julian Assange meets every woman's dream tinder match. It's far removed from action movies of old where the heroes were bland cops who dumped all over the precinct nerd helping to move the big case along.
In the film's second scene you learn that he has the ability to steal from banks for the sole reason of giving his fellow inmates a quick $900 just by using a smart phone. In that same scene you also find out he threw away a code able to hack into nuclear plants.
This is a man who can beat you up and steal Windows 10 for you months before it comes out.
Inherent Vice Tried Way too Hard to be Cool
There are those who will argue [Inherent Vice](movie:608094) was "genius” but to that I say how genius can something be if the plot is confusing? Scene after scene there was a buildup, and then when you thought the payoff was coming, everyone watching is left empty handed. It’s like a comedian without punchlines and thinks the setup is his main weapon.
What was supposed to be the next Big Lebowski became the college essay equivalent of the paper using big words that confused the crap out of everybody instead of getting to the point with simple language. I don't know how many useless dentists who help meth heads you could introduce at once without being an angrily attempting to figure out why Anderson made this person exist.
Blackhat's plot on the other hand is as simple as it is explosive - and not simple in the bad Steven-Segal-Has-To-Stop-the-Factory-From-Dumping-Waste-in-the-Water-Supply way. It flowed sweetly with some cheese here or there but if there's anything we learned from John McClain -or even those early Spider-Man comics written by Stan Lee- some cheese is okay as long as you can follow it up with good action.
For instance, when someone goes up in flames sitting in their car like they’re Appelonia -if Michael Corleone's enemies sported rocket launchers and 3.9 college GPAs, of course- you're allowed to have scenes where the Department of Justice let’s a felon walk after an IPhone negotiation.
Also, if you still plan on seeing Inherent Vice for reasons relating to your lack of sobriety just know that in a scene where Hemsworth, his girlfriend, his hacker friend and the FBI drink sake they get more fucked up than anybody in the Joaquin Phoenix flick. That shouldn’t be the case but then again we should all know how unfair the world is by now.
Blackhat Follows the Time Honored Film Tradition of Ending the Movie at the End of the Movie:
An hour and a half into Inherent Vice everything that Phoenix needed to solve becomes solved. Seeing how the movie progressed the way it did was like playing Mortal Kombat, fighting Shao Kahn after your third fight, and then facing Mileena, Kitanna, Scorpion, Sub-Zero and then finally Sonya.
I'm all for experimenting but there's no reason to keep going once your case is solved. If you do that you may as well go all grind house and commits to the movie heading into a part 2.
You don't get any sort of unnecessary plot strangulation with Blackhat. There is a beginning, middle, explosions, sex, explosions and then finally an end. When Hemsworth's Shao Kahn goes kaboom, credits roll and everyone leaves happy.