Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality/nudity.
Directed By: Dominic Sena
Written By: Skip Woods
Staring: John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Sam Shepard, Vinnie Jones, Zach Grenier, and Carmen Argenziano
Have you ever heard of Harry Houdini? Well he wasn’t like today’s magicians who are only interested in television ratings. He was an artist. He could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theater filled with people, and do you know how he did that? Misdirection. -Gabriel
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.
Hugh Jackman plays the a computer hacker with a heart of gold, and also very little facial fur. It was a little distracting to see him so clean shaved . I had forgotten before Wolverine that he actually used a razor. He plays a character that has recently been released from prison and is in the process of trying to get custody of his daughter from his drunk ex-wife who lives with a porn king. He is approached by an illegal group and offered enough money to hire the best lawyers available to get his daughter back, but soon finds himself in too deep in a scheme that involves violence and money.
The problem with Swordfish became the overwhelming sense that most of the movie was centered around making John Travolta look smooth. We all saw Saturday Night Fever, Urban Cowboy, and Pulp Fiction, we know he’s a smooth dude. Forcing the issue steals cool points away and I don’t want to do that to Travolta, because ultimately I’m a big fan. However, in Swordfish it felt too often like it was all about him making the character cool by being ambivalent and nonchalant, instead of the hardcore intellect described by the captured Hacker in the Airport, he became this entity that didn’t necessarily jive with the movie.
Most of the action is in the last fifteen minutes or so, and it’s clear early on that it’s going to be over the top, but it got carried away even with that. I’m all for original action sequences or trying something new, and Swordfish did earn points in that category, but after the initial shock of the situation it just seemedunnecessary.
There were some engaging moments with some of the dialogue and most of the character’s were intriguing and that helped the film remain interesting. The distraction of Gabriel was softened by Berry orCheadle and brought the clever plot back down to the planet again. The actual concept is pretty exciting and relevant in today’s world of computers and terrorism. It really integrated the two concepts together and made it something worth watching.
If John Travolta and some of the nonsensical action moments didn’t get in the way of the plot so often, this could have been a really great action/suspense movie. It’s misdirected focus on it’s stylization left the potential of the plot mostly unexplored creating a mediocre movie instead of something worthwhile. I didn’t hate Swordfish, actually I liked it better this second time around, but it was too unfocused and lost. I’ll probably forget about this movie again in a month. Style over substance doesn’t always succeed, and this is a prime example of that. Swordfish finished with just an OK from me.