Swordfish (2001) — Wolverine takes hacking classes

“Log on. Hack in. Go anywhere. Steal everything.”

Kyle’s rating: Like a blind date with a midget, I never knew what to expect next

Kyle’s review: There is but one constant in the universe: if critical response to a film is divided and it’s old stodgy critics saying “nay” and fresh young “hip” critics saying “yea,” then that’s a film to see. It’s not a guarantee that the film will be good, but it will at least be worth seeing. Swordfish is a film that has generated wildly varying responses, so when my Sunday was free (sorry, God!) I decided to check it out. Yowza, that’s a spicy and good film! I want to be a hacker!

The movie is great because you really aren’t sure what to expect next. When it’s over you’ll be like “hey, they ripped off so-and-so movie and there wasn’t enough nudity and which one of you is touching my butt?” but while you’re watching you’ll be transfixed. It isn’t award-winning material, but in the vein of Bruckheimer they’ve put a nice gloss on everything and assembled a dynamite cast so you’ll be too entertained to consider trashing the theater in protest.

Stanley (Hugh Jackman) has some problems. He’s a master computer hacker and after getting out of jail he’s been forbidden from even touching a computer, but most importantly his pill-popping ex married a sleazy porno-maker and she has custody of their daughter. All he wants is to rescue his daughter (whom he can’t even visit) but he has no money and no legal standing to do it.

But as luck would have it, the computer hacker hired to do a job for a shadowy man-with-a-plan (John Travolta) just got himself permanently put out of action so Stanley is suddenly a hot commodity. Will a $10 million payoff be enough incentive for Stanley to pull off the hack of his life so he can get his daughter back, or does he have too many questions about what the consequences are going to be? For a computer hacker dude, isn’t Stanley a little too good-looking and buff? How would I look with a soul patch like Travolta’s?

Normally I blurt and rave and drop plot points like coins in a fountain. But Swordfish offers maximum enjoyment when you’re not exactly certain what to expect, so there. I will tell you the explosive effects are neat, a car chase/shootout is cool, and Travolta and Jackman are really effective in their roles. You root for Jackman because he’s a good hearted dude just trying to get his daughter back, but you’re never sure if Travolta deserves our trust even after a late revelation about his true motives. Travolta does deserve respect because after some recent missteps he really pours on the charm like expensive cologne and comes out of Swordfish smelling like fish, but in a positive way.

Swordfish: It’s a good film to see, it’s a good dish to eat, and it’s what tried to spear William Katt in the first House. See it, eat it, and see it again! Then grow some facial hair! You too, ladies!

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