Worth A Look: 18.18%
Just Average: 13.64%
Pretty Crappy: 29.55%
5 reviews, 102 user ratings
by Matt Mulcahey
The opening sequence of “Swordfish” features terrorist Gabriel Shear, played by John Travolta, calling Hollywood movies boring, simple-minded wastes of time typified by bad acting, bad directing and bad scripts. “Swordfish” then proceeds to be boring, simple-minded and typified by bad acting, bad directing and a bad script. Well, you can’t say the filmmakers didn’t warn you.Shear is an anti-terrorist specialist who wants to loot a secret government slush fund with the help of computer hacker Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) and a band of wordless, cliched henchmen.
"I know what you really wanna know: Berry's Breasts...Magnificent"
To try and explain the plot in any further detail would be an exercise in futility. Who Shear works for, why he’s decided to steal the money and how he plans to use the funds to “ensure the freedoms American’s take for granted” are lost amidst a landslide of indecipherable computer jargon and confusing “secret” government agency names that blend together into an abyss of confusion.
Thrown in as filler, and backed by a constant onslaught of techno music, are a dizzying array of broken glass, exploding cars and random nudity.
Everything about “Swordfish,” from the elliptical narrative to the “Matrix”-cribbed effects, is borrowed from a better movie.
The men responsible are director Dominic Sena and producer/pyromaniac Joel Silver. This one pretty much snuffs out the last of the promise Sena showed with 1993’s gritty serial killer drama “Kalifornia”. At least his last film, “Gone in 60 Seconds,” was entertaining and enjoyable in it’s mindless excess. Sena provides “Swordfish” with a slick and polished look, but he has no style, originality, or sense of humor.
If anyone should know how to make an action movie, it’s Silver. He practically invented the modern action film with a string of ‘80s blow em’ ups including “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Predator” and “Lethal Weapon.” This is definitely one of his worst, half as enjoyable as this year’s Steven Seagal vehicle “Exit Wounds” and just above the Cindy Crawford/William Baldwin debacle “Fair Game.”
The capable cast attempts to wrestle some semblance of dignity from Skip Wood’s problematic script, with Don Cheadle, as a government agent, and Sam Shepard, as a Senator, coming off best.
Jackman has his moments as the anti-hero, Halle Berry is beautiful but lacks the alluring danger of a classic femme fatale and Vinnie Jones, so tough-guy cool in Guy Ritchie's “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch,” is shamelessly wasted as a cardboard cut-out villain.
Most disappointing of all is watching John Travolta’s latest comeback gasping for its last breath. His performance is colorless and lifeless, as he sleepwalks through his villainous role with none of the sinister glee he portrayed in “Face/Off” or the over-the-top camp of “Broken Arrow.”
What possible explanation could their be for Travolta doing this movie? I think perhaps he has an extremely high-stakes bet with Burt Reynolds to see who can ruin their career more times.
Travolta’s got the “Look Who’s Talking,” but Burt has three “Smokey and the Bandits” and a pair of “Cannonball Run’s.”
Travolta tried unsuccessfully to make mechanical bulls and country music cool in “Urban Cowboy” and forever preserved the ridiculousness that was disco in “Saturday Night Fever.” Reynolds made “Cop & 1/2” and turned down the Nicholson role in “Terms of Endearment” to do “Stroker Ace.”
Travolta gains points for banging Kelly Preston, but loses them for naming his kid Jet and being a scientologist.
Reynolds gains points "Boogie Nights" and banging Lonnie Anderson, but loses them for his bad hair piece.Travolta has “Battlefield Earth,” Burt’s got “Striptease.” Neither was in “Ishtar.” After “Swordfish,” it’s just too close to call.
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originally posted: 06/25/01 23:14:10