Swordfish (2001) – Yahoo! Movies page
My Rating (on the Yahoo! Movies rating scale): F (Retch)
Cast: John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle
I’d seen these promos for the movie Swordfish on HBO, and decided to check up if it had got good reviews on Yahoo! Movies. By this I mean check up the user reviews, and not the critics’ reviews, because I don’t trust the latter very much, or at all. Most of them were very positive, saying that it was a really good thriller, and they liked the computer hacking bit of the story. So I decided to watch it.
The first thing you’d notice is how young Hugh Jackman looks without his Wolverine sideburns. And the very next thing you’ll notice is how idiotic John Travolta looks with the hairstyle in this movie – almost as if he’s wearing a wig fashioned out of a floor mop. Dizzy with anticipation about the hacking bit, I waited for some more time into the movie. It soon came along, and it was terrible. Hugh Jackman is some hotshot hacker who, at gunpoint courtesy Mr Travolta, hacks in US Department of Defense in 30 seconds, after getting it wrong 4-5 times. Of course, US DoD has never thought of blocking multiple hack attacks from the same IP address in the span of 30 seconds. At the same time, there’s some sidekick of an FBI guy played by Don Cheadle who spouts “He was on the cover of Wired magazine”.
Things then get murkier. Jackman apparently was sent to jail by Don Cheadle for hacking into FBI’s computers. He’s out on parole now, and Jackman goes and picks up his daughter from school and deposits her outside her mom / ex-wife’s house. Chedle and his cronies then jump on this guy, so naturally Jackman has to jump of a high cliff to escape. We get to see Jackman, Cheadle and his cronies roll and bounce down a cliff; miraculously, by the time they reach the bottom, they aren’t hurt, neither are their clothes torn. Hell, they aren’t even dirty that much from all that rolling around. Obviously, it’s some kind of Wunder-Fabric that only FBI guys and Wired mag cover folk get to wear. After all that bouncing around on a mountain, Cheadle decides there’s no need to arrest Jackman after all.
Jackman dude then hacks into some financial records (or was it the DoD again) through – get this, the Caltech Alumni Association website. I can understand Caltech having Internet links to Department of Defense computers, but to hack in using the alumni site just takes the biscuit. Someone PLEASE tell the writers that just because it’s the alum association doesn’t mean that they’re on the same servers. That isn’t half the story, BTW. Apparently, there’s a PDP-10 (an ancient computer, the ones used for playing Space Wars) in Caltech’s basement that is connected to the Net, and THAT is what he hacks into using the alumni association site. This, of course, proves what a cool frood Jackman is. Rah rah Wolverine!
That bit done, he now gets to hack in proper. Amazingly, the interface for showing how close he is to breaking in consists of something similar to disassembled Rubik’s cube. We can only assume that DoD drops in helpful tools to help wannabe hackers to know how much progress they have made, in a nice looking graphic interface. How thoughtful.
Halle Berry, BTW, has a totally unconvincing performance – doing nothing but making fake smiles all the time. Travolta looks throughout the movie as if he’s on the lookout for new floor mops to replenish his wig. Don Cheadle keeps on looking through windows / telescopes in his capacity as the FBI guy, with an expression on his face which seems like he was served a gargoyle for breakfast.
Still, I plodded on. I wanted to see the whole thing through, to find SOME count on which I could find something to say good about this movie. Towards the end though, when I came to the scene where Some Dudes In A Helicopter throw hooks at a moving bus on the road and lift it clean off the ground and high into the air, I finally realised that Reason had gone out for a quick snack of burritos for the past one-and-half hours, and I switched the TV off right then.
Seriously, this movie’s acting, direction, and script is SO bad, that it ISN’T good. I can’t decide what to say about the people on Yahoo! Movies who said this movie makes ‘computer hacking look sexy’ or ‘it’s a very good thriller’ – either they are a bunch of rednecks who’s idea of hacking consists of disassembled Rubik’s cubes, or they’re deluding themselves to get over the shock of having wasted $10 on this pair of dingo’s kidneys of a movie. Don’t watch it even if you’re paid to do so.