Blackhat appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. The movie came with a generally solid Dolby Vision presentation.
Michael Mann tends to favor a mix of cameras for his movies, and this meant some variation in sharpness, so expect occasional slightly mushy shots. Still, the majority of the film felt fairly accurate and well-defined, so the soft spots didn’t become a notable issue.
The image lacked jaggies or moiré effects, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws remained absent.
Like most modern thrillers, Blackhat favored a palette dominated by teal and amber, though not to cartoony extremes. We also got greens and reds at times. The disc replicated the hues in an appropriate manner, and HDR gave them extra emphasis.
Blacks felt deep and dark, while shadows appeared smooth and clear. HDR added range and impact to whites and contrast. The sporadic soft shots meant this wasn’t a consistently impressive image, but it held up nicely overall.
Similar thoughts greeted the flick’s sturdy but not dazzling DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. The world of computer hacking didn’t really lend itself toward sizzling sonics, so this didn’t come as a shock.
Much of the mix oriented toward general atmosphere, so we got material related to streets and a variety of settings. A few scenes – like a disaster that occurred early in the story – added impact to the proceedings, as did some more violent “action flick”-style beats.
Still, these didn’t dominate, so don’t expect a lot of real pizzazz. Nonetheless, the soundfield used the effects in a worthwhile manner and also spread music around the room in an engaging way.
Audio quality worked fine, with music that seemed vivid and full. Speech seemed natural and concise, as dialogue became easily intelligible and without edginess.
Effects appeared accurate and dynamic, with good range and impact. Again, this never turned into a great soundtrack, but it seemed fine for the material.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both came with identical audio.
As for the Dolby Vision 4K, it boasted mild improvements in terms of colors and blacks, while delineation felt similar due to the nature of the source. Although not a major upgrade, the 4K became a bit more pleasing.
The set includes the US (2:13:27), International (2:12:55) and Director's Cut (2:12:08) versions of Blackhat. How do these differ?
Ala IMDB, in the "International" edition, “the description of Lozano and his affiliation with the ‘Los Zapotecas’ gang at approximately 26 minutes into the film is shortened”. Or as you likely figured out due to their very similar running times, the pair remain virtually identical.
As for the "Director's Cut", it moves the opening to later in the film and starts with a different launch to the drama. Other scenes are changed/shifted in minor ways. These give Blackhat a mildly different vibe at times but don't make it a better film.
Note that while both the US and International versions appear on the same 4K UHD disc, the Director's Cut only appears on a Blu-ray.
Alongside the “International Version”, we find an audio commentary from film historians Bryan Reesman and Max Evry. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story and characters, cast and performances, sets, locations and production design, cinematography and editing, music and audio, stunts/action, and their thoughts about the movie.
With this chat, we get a mix of production details, background and general opinions of the film. The guys combine these domains in a positive manner and make this a pretty engaging and informative track.
Some featurettes follow, and Firewall runs 18 minutes, 44 seconds. It provides an interview with director of photography Stuart Dryburgh.
The cinematographer discusses how he got into films as well as aspects of his career and his work on Blackhat. Dryburgh offers an appealing view of the subjects.
Zero Day Threat goes for 30 minutes, 33 seconds and presents a conversation with production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas.
Like Dryburgh, he touches on his movie career and what he did for Blackhat. Like Dryburgh, Dyas brings us an insightful take on his choices.
Next comes The Cyber Threat, a 13-minute, two-second featurette with info from director Michael Mann, mathematician/consultant Christopher McKinlay, former FBI Cyber Division Supervisory Special Agent Michael Panico, author/journalist Kevin Poulsen, and actors Wang Leehom and Chris Hemsworth.
“Threat” investigates some of the fact behind the movie’s fiction, with a glimpse of computer hacking and related issues. While promotional in tone, it still comes with some decent notes.
On Location Around the World spans nine minutes, 30 seconds and delivers comments from Mann, Dyas, Hemsworth, Jakarta key unit manager Tino Saroengallo, and actors Viola Davis and Ritchie Coster.
As implied by the title, “World” discusses the many locations used in Blackhat. Like “Threat”, it comes with some good info, but it also tends to lean too heavily on happy talk.
Finally, Creating Reality lasts 17 minutes, one second and involves Hemsworth, Coster, Mann, Davis, Leehom, nuclear hazard technical advisor Julie Atwood and actor Tang Wei.
With this show, we look at the movie’s story/characters, Mann’s methods and attempts to create believable reality-based elements. We get another combination of useful material and self-praise.
An Image Gallery presents a whopping 16 photos from the film. Yawn.
Despite some potential thrills, Blackhat fails to find a groove. Slow and plodding, the movie lacks even basic intrigue or excitement. The 4K UHD boasts generally positive picture and audio along with a mix of bonus materials. Michael Mann’s talents abandon him with this weak stab at a thriller.
To rate this film visit the prior review of BLACKHAT