Swordfish (2001)

Action, Crime, Thriller
John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle
A secretive renegade counter-terrorist co-opts the world's greatest hacker (who is trying to stay clean) to steal billions in US Government dirty money.
Swordfish is big on explosions, but critics dislike how it skimps on plot and logic. Also, the sight of a person typing at a computer just isn't that interesting.
  • Warner Bros. Pictures Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 08 Jun 2001 Released:
  • 30 Oct 2001 DVD Release:
  • $68.8M Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

Too much gloss can't hide a middling action thriller - 53%5/10
There are, in my mind, two things that the film "Swordfish" is famous for. The first is the fact that it features what I think is the most beautiful car ever produced - the British-made TVR Tuscan. It's the sort of car you'd like to see parked in your drive every morning, even if you weren't going to drive it. The second is that it's the first film that Halle Berry decided to get her baps out in and unnecessarily so, as it turns out. While I debated with myself which one of the two I'd rather look at, the film continued on it's crash-bang-wallop course of international computer hackery and stylish but maniacal villains.

In "Swordfish", we enter the world of Gabriel Shear (John Travolta, looking all the world like a 21st century Dracula) - renowned playboy, super-fly criminal genius and determined to pull off the heist of the century. He's James Bond, Shaft and Austin Powers in one, if you can imagine so much ego fitting into an Armani suit. He recruits washed-up former hacker Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) to provide various worm programs and hacking expertise to steal 9.5 billion dollars from under the US Government's nose. As you do. For Stanley, it's a no-win situation. Enticed by the prospect of a major pay-off and custody of his daughter from his ex-wife, Jobson would tell Gabriel to shove his job if it wasn't for the mysterious but sexy Ginger (Halle Berry) egging him on. And jitters are the last thing the ruthless Gabriel needs.

Despite his enthusiasm for the picture, producer Joel Silver has gone down a notch on my list of favourite people in Hollywood. This is as disposable action as you can get, almost as if he's trying to out-do Jerry Bruckheimer. The explosions are bigger, the stakes are higher (nine and a half billion, for God's sake!) and the characters are cooler. Or so he thinks. Truth is, the near-constant kaboom of special effects and pyrotechnics drown out what might have been an intelligent thriller. By the time of the ridiculous finale (which makes no sense at all), you've already forgotten everything else. And aside from Jackman and Travolta who have most of the dialogue, Berry and Gabriel's henchman Marco (Vinnie Jones, bizarrely if your name's Marco) have next to nothing to do. Berry strips and Jones grimaces like their lives depended on it. Berry should know better but for the inexperienced former soccer thug, this should be a lesson well learnt. But then again, this didn't stop him from remaking "The Mean Machine".

As action films go, it is undeniably entertaining. The plot twists its way around the action, revealing more about Gabriel and why he's such a sanctimonious prat. And the set-pieces are also very impressive, if slightly over the top. Simply by shooting a SUV can one cause the vehicle not only to explode like the Manhatten project but also make the now flaming wreckage flip through the sky like a Romanian gymnast. Physics clearly don't apply in LA, like the strange time-bubble surrounding the city which allows Gabriel to fly to Oregan and back in less than an afternoon. Hmmm, says I. Clearly, the film-makers were trying to make as entertaining a piece as possible but they over-did it. Less is more, or so they say and it is advice Silver and director Dominic Sena would be wise to listen to. Shame, really. That TVR is just gorgeous...
Just break the code: there is government money to be had.6/10

Action... explosive action. Clever script. Eye popping special effects. A strong cast, but too much confusion in following the story line. A highly successful computer hacker(Hugh Jackman)is coerced to help a ruthless spy(John Travolta)steal billions of unused government monies obtained in an old DEA drug operation. Don Cheadle is the run ragged FBI agent trying to spoil the by-computer hijacking. Sam Shepard has a small role as a corrupt Senator. The alluring Halle Berry is supposedly an undercover DEA agent whose purpose in the whole procedure is not clear cut.

If you are looking for a good escape from reality; this flick will give you several big bangs for your buck. It is good to see Travolta play a clever, bad ass thug. Some of his best work in a long time. And for the first time, Miss Berry appears topless on screen; and in other various degrees of undress...so nice my eyes hurt. Vinnie Jones is impressive as a strong arm enforcer. Rough and ready entertainment worth your time.
Cool, Slick and Sexy8/10
What is the highest pressure job interview you've ever had?

Well, Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) a convicted Hacker, fresh out of prison and desperate to see his daughter again, can beat you, i'll bet on it. He has to hack into the FBI Computers in a fairly public place, with a gun to his head and a beautiful woman performing an act of Felacio on him, and he has just one minute to do it. (A Great Scene, Not Explict, just cool)

Anyway, he is recruited by John Travolta to hack into a dormant DEA Fund worth 9.5 Billion Dollars to finance his terrorist activities.

Full of Slick Dialogue, cool Direction and the simply gorgeous Halle Berry, this turns out to be a very enjoyable Thriller, with some clever twists (some of which don't quite work) but are forgivable anyway.

Not a classic, but a good film none the less. 8/10
Good escapist entertainment8/10

I think people have been a little to harsh on this movie. No it is not revelatory but it is a nice glossy diversion. The all-star cast, especially Hugh Jackman, is more than competent though they aren't really challenged. There are enough special effects and stunts intermixed with a fairly compelling narrative (it is not confusing if you just pay attention) to make the film more than worthwhile. Overall good entertainment, 7/10.
A good time with this film.7/10

SWORDFISH (2001) Rating: 7/10

Hell, I liked this movie. It's been a while since I've seen an enjoyable, mature action movie. With the slew of PG-13 action movies of recent years, it's refreshing to see one that at least acknowledges that many intense situations do involve language, sex, and mixed character reactions -- it wasn't just another black and white, good and bad movie where the good guy does only good things and the bad guy has only evil intentions. The good guy didn't always do the right thing, and the bad guy could hardly be accused of sinister motives.

I loved the three leads in this film. Hugh Jackman is officially a star with this movie. Hugh has proven himself once before in X-Men as a worthy actor, and he does it again in this film. He's the one that basically pulls you into this movie from the get-go and you actually feel for the poor guy. John Travolta, obviously, has a blast with yet another solid "bad guy" showing, redeeming himself after the lacklustre results of Battlefield Earth and Halle Berry must have enjoyed making this one, since it is a departure from her standard movie roles. Not to mention, she's sexier than ever.

There actually isn't as much action as you would expect in this film, but the opening and closing scenes in the film are some of the best action scenes I have ever seen and really hooks you into the film in the beginning and leaves you thoroughly entertained at the end. It's one of the first uses of "matrix-style camerawork" that I've seen that really adds to the film and isn't just something that "looks cool."

Overall, if you're looking for an "action popcorn" flick with lots of bad guys, gunplay, quick camera movements, fun action sequences and a surprisingly decent storyline that moves along at a quick pace, I'd recommend you rent this film.