Swordfish (15)

The ViewNewcastle Review

StarStarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner16/08/2001

2 stars out of 5
Running time: 99 mins

Guns, girls, Very Big Explosions, car chases, ludicrous dialogue, logic-defying plots, ridiculous over-acting, amusing facial hair and Gratuitous Nudity – let’s play Spot The Blockbuster…

The posters to Swordfish have very wisely decided to go with "From the producer of The Matrix", rather than "From the director of Gone In 60 Seconds" (last year’s Big Dumb Blockbuster That Wasn’t Any Good). Unfortunately, if you approach Swordfish expecting something that’s up to the standard of The Matrix, you’re in for a disappointment.

Rising star Hugh Jackman (Wolverine from X-Men, also currently starring in Animal Attraction) plays Stanley Jobson, a ‘hacker-with-a-heart’ who has just got out of prison after destabilising the FBI’s e-mail surveillance program.

He’s desperate to gain custody of his Little Girl, whose mother, naturally, just happens to be an alcoholic porn actress. So, when Halle Berry’s ‘Ginger’ shows up, offering him Large Sums Of Cash just to meet her boss (Travolta), Stanley agrees.

Seconds later he’s being forced to perform a very complicated hacking task while simultaneously having a gun pushed to his head whilst a naked woman gives him oral stimulation. Unsurprisingly, he fails the task, but Travolta recruits him anyway…

Swordfish is disappointing in many ways. Firstly it peaks too early with a stunning explosion in the opening sequence that the rest of the film fails to live up to – indeed, the film acknowledges that moment as the climax, because we immediately flash back to ‘Four Days Previously’ for the rest of the story.

Secondly, the plot is both ludicrous and faintly reactionary – Travolta is revealed as a renegade patriot who needs the billions of dollars so that he can continue his fight against ‘terrorists who threaten America’.

Thirdly, it badly wastes the talents of The Great Don Cheadle and the Stunning But Useless Halle Berry (though her well-publicised $250,000 topless scene won’t do any harm to the film’s box office prospects).

And finally, no matter how much Jackman whoops and hollers and spins on his chair while hacking, the film can’t avoid the fact that bashing away on a keyboard just isn’t exciting to watch.

That said, if your standards are low, this is just about watchable, and the Flying Bus scene gives it a certain surreal edge. It also gets by on Jackman’s Eastwood-lite charisma and another ludicrous performance by Travolta, complete with Ridiculous Facial Hair. The less said about Vinnie Jones, however (yes, he’s in it too), the better.

Film Trailer

Swordfish (15)
Be the first to review Swordfish...
01 The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best (15)

Ryan O'Nan, Michael Weston, Arielle Kebbel, Andrew...

02 House at the End of the Street (tbc)

Jennifer Lawrence

03 The Devil's Business (18)

Billy Clarke, Jack Gordon, Jonathan Hansler, Harry...

05 Oz: The Great and Powerful (tbc)

James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz

Content updated: 24/07/2012 03:36

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Total Recall Film Trailer

This week Matthew Turner gives us his thoughts on the Total Recall film trailer, the A Kid with a Bike DVD release and all the latest film releases.

Film of the Week

The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best

A comedy drama slash musical about a pair of musicians going on a road trip.

Latest Close Up

William Friedkin Interview

The director behind Killer Joe talks about working with Matthew McConaughey and the notorious fried chicken scene.