Out-of-Date, Tech Mistakes, but WHAT A CAST!5/10
The problem with any movie that focuses on technology, particularly computers, is that it will become dated nearly immediately. This isn't a new problem for filmmakers; great films of the past, from DESK SET to COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT, from DEMON SEED to TRON and THE LAST STARFIGHTER have all featured 'cutting-edge' technology that seems quaint, by today's standards. Even 'Hal', from the timeless classic 2001:A SPACE ODYSSEY, is a
huge monstrosity that could be miniaturized to a fraction of it's size, today. So when a film's whole theme involves computers, like THE NET, or HACKERS, you can't take the technology end too seriously, even if much of it is bogus, as is the case of Iain Softley's paean to teen-aged computer freaks. Hackers are, of course, not romantic, adventurous daredevils who are trying to right wrongs by attacking evil conglomerates via an expertise in computer programming; they are generally over-educated anarchists who create worms and viruses for the simple joy of seeing the disruption and destruction of EVERYONE'S computers, just to know that they can do it.
Having said this, let me say that the true joy of HACKERS is seeing a group of young 'Stars in the Making', early in their careers. Of course the most recognizable and famous of these is Angelina Jolie, who looks butch and adorable with short hair, and 'an attitude', but the film also offers a dazzling performance by Matthew Lillard (Shaggy in the live-action SCOOBY-DOO), who has become one of the finest young comic actors around; gifted British actor Jonny Lee Miller, playing an American, here, who would go on to TRAINSPOTTING, DRACULA 2000, and the title role in the TV production of BYRON; Jesse Bradford, star of last year's CLOCKSTOPPERS; Laurence Mason (BEHIND ENEMY LINES, A.I.); and Renoly Santiago (CON AIR). Quite an impressive resume for a cast of 'unknowns' in 1995!
Of course, the established actors of the film haven't done badly, either...While Fisher Stevens never became a 'major' star, after the build-up television and the SHORT CIRCUIT films gave him, he still remains active; and of course, Lorraine Bracco went on to THE SOPRANOS, as the Mafia's favorite 'shrink' (with the possible exception of Billy Crystal).
So, if you skip over the dated attempt to be 'cutting edge', and just sit back and enjoy the performances, HACKERS is a fun movie that can be appreciated as a 'Preview of Coming Attractions' from a remarkable cast...