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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.67%
Worth A Look: 18.18%
Average: 13.64%
Pretty Bad29.55%
Total Crap: 21.97%

5 reviews, 102 user ratings

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by Jason Whyte

"One more mention of Halle Berry topless and I swear to god..."
3 stars

In the opening of "Swordfish," an action scene occurs that is actually at the middle of the story and is used as a appetite-whetter, where we come right into the middle of a standoff scene between our main characters and the police in a coffee shop. As I watched it, I thought of something funny: you can critique this scene either postively or negatively and still have a valid argument; that either you like the fact the film opens with the bang, in the tradition of any James Bond film, or it infuriates you that the filmmakers couldn't think of any other way to start the story and throw an action scene to help caffinate the viewers.

However, it's the dialogue that opens the film that saves it, (shot for some reason in-and-out of focus, but not too irritating), where Gabriel (John Travolta) is drinking his espresso and talking about where Hollywood is going wrong with films. I liked this conversation, because it's not only smart, but it hints at what is to come. And hey, we should have a little taste at the action before the story really begins.

It's things like this that propel "Swordfish", which is certainly not a great film by any means and won't hit anyone's Top Ten list, however it is a simply cheeky and notable one. I sat with a enjoyed smile on my face throughout. It's tongue is firmly in its cheek but not too far, and the film kind of winks at you as well.

It even has a serviceable story in the mix. After the opening sequence, we meet Gabriel again, who we find out is the leader of a terrorist group, who is planning a theft of approximately $9 billion from online banks. However, to get in, he needs the services of Stanley (Hugh Jackman), an ex-hacker, one of the best of the game, to break in. Stanley doesn't want any part of this, but the financial gain of working for Gabriel would help get his daughter (Camryn Grimes) back from his porn-star of an ex-wife. This sets up a remarkable heist where Gabriel and his partners, the lovely yet questionable Ginger (Halle Berry) and the tough-as-steel Marco (the always welcome Vinnie Jones) work with Stanley against the authorities, mostly from Roberts (Don Cheadle), who is hot on Gabriel's tail.

There are many little surprises in Swordfish and some characters who don't seem to be who they say they are, but thankfully this isn't done to the extreme. As well, the computer-play isn't too technical for the casual moviegoer; it's easy to follow along, even if the computer screens look fake with bogus commands (would a monitor really flash "ACCESS GRANTED" in large green letters in the center of the screen?).

The action in the film is handled well. Even at 100 minutes with credits, the action pieces are not jammed into every reel, but they form out of the story and the lives of these people. As preposterous as it all is, it is fun to watch John Travolta holding what looks like a massive machine gun, or Hugh Jackman chase a helicopter with a bazooka. And it is certainly funny to watch a bus chase turn into an aerial pursuit. I wish director Dominic Sena, however, would lighten up on the green-tinge to his photography, which slightly looks like the use of green in "The Matrix." Even one shot in the film looks similar, where we see a 360 degree view of a disaster.

When I saw "X-Men" last year, I remarked how good Hugh Jackman was in Bryan Singer's film and knew that he would become a succesful actor. Earlier this year, he showed even more promise in the disastraous "Someone Like You" (which I called his performance "The silver lining in the cloud of a very bad movie"). Here, he makes Stanley instantly likable and someone to root for, even though he gets too much over his head at first, he does revert from his errors and works to resolve them. He's matched by John Travolta, in full-camp mode, as Gabriel. Travolta's witty chat and remarks make him a fun bad guy. Halle Berry, as Ginger, has her moments. Vinnie Jones, like his role in "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels", speaks less and acts silent more. And finally, the always likable Don Cheadle is good as the cop in charge of finding Gabriel.

There are people actually talking and communicating in "Swordfish", in more smart dialogue than cliches. And this seems to be one of the very few action films this year to seem to want the "R" rating for the graphic violence, nudity and language. For some reason, as much as I would object to the use of it, Sena and screenwriter Skip Woods seem to like it, and they've made a fun, big movie out of it that is quite an enjoyable ride. So why not revel in it.

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originally posted: 04/08/04 17:22:52
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User Comments

5/03/14 NG Good god I hate this movie! 1 stars
12/24/09 Jeff Wilder Great effects. But the story makes no sesnse whatsoever. 3 stars
7/04/09 George (DUKE) Halle Booby...worth the wait...John plays mean WELL 3 stars
3/11/08 David Graham slick, good action but confusing in places 4 stars
2/12/07 johnnyfog Watch it with the sound off. It's much better 2 stars
3/31/06 Anthony Feor John Travolta delights us with another Insanly stupid film 2 stars
10/26/05 tony horrid! This movie blows!! 1 stars
8/28/05 Terry 10 star! 5 stars
8/16/05 ES Not even hugh and forty pounds of plastic could save this compost heap 2 stars
5/28/05 tony Great action scenes. especially the beginning. but very slow and boring 2 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams not even halle's cans can save this train wreck 1 stars
11/21/04 Werner Brock It's a ood old action movie, with a fast pace, nice girl (Halle). I loved it. 4 stars
9/14/04 whatevr Memo to self: gouge out eyes 1 stars
7/08/04 Denise Duspiva Hugh Jackman and Travolta were good 4 stars
5/29/04 matt pretty good 2 begin with but lost interest 3 stars
5/24/04 Butterbean Nice opening. A few good action sequence. But I lost interest later on. 2 stars
5/20/04 Joker Nice wine selections by Hugh Jackman... 2 stars
4/15/04 Charlene Javier Not as bad as expected. 3 stars
4/15/04 rojo Don't miss the beginning scene, Travolita is great. 5 stars
4/11/04 Wildcarde1 if it wasnt for halle's boobs this movie would fade forever from the world, just bad movie 1 stars
4/09/04 y2mckay Only memorable scenes - the first ten minutes, and yes, HALLE BERRY'S TITTIES! 2 stars
4/06/04 Mr X This movie gets -4 stars from me 1 stars
3/20/04 Jack-pyschO-Lantern WOO! Vinnie Jones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/09/04 Whatevr Took one year off my life 1 stars
12/13/03 R.W. Welch Low credibility stuff but at least it moves right along. 2 stars
5/28/03 Mr. Hat (I'm Back Mo'Fos!!!) OK, the bus thing was fake, but otherwise, good cast/writing/directing & other good action! 4 stars
5/01/03 Mr. Do average movie. 3 stars
4/18/03 Vimmy mardousch cool explosions man...joking. it sucks like a dyson 1 stars
2/21/03 Monster W. Kung Hollow, dim-witted and just plain boring. 2 stars
12/31/02 Jack Sommersby Incomprehensible, 2-fisted macho crap. 1 stars
9/02/02 AshFan Hugh Jackman is a good action star, and the flying bus kicks boo-tay! 4 stars
8/28/02 Bob MacBryce What a complete load of bollocks. Is there anything a little realistic in this movie ? 1 stars
7/31/02 alisa i liked it i thought that it was pretty rad. i really like the explosion in the begining. 5 stars
7/05/02 KMG RAVOLTA 2 stars
5/21/02 Karen Moore One more reason to wish I had a time machine to keep John Travolta'a parents from meeting. 1 stars
5/21/02 Jamie I loved it, nice action, good story/ hugh Jackman is gorgeous and a very good actor!!! 5 stars
4/27/02 kati tollely in love with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/17/02 Connoisseur I hate this movie it's ugly and it feels like every other fucking action movie ever made 1 stars
3/02/02 Chowie very average 3 stars
3/02/02 Andrew Carden Dated Action Film. Travolta Does The Movie Some Good, but Can't Save It's Goofy Plot. 2 stars
3/02/02 Alan Smithee While not completely a turd, only Halle Barry's cool and sexy performance is worth seeing. 2 stars
2/27/02 Brie I am actually using this film for an English asessment on image.....I enjoyed it! 5 stars
2/20/02 Frances I......haven't seen this movie 5 stars
1/14/02 Flick Chick a guy movie that i actually liked. 4 stars
1/13/02 0er0 Unaided Brute Forcing a Government Web interface in 60 seconds ? err yeah right 1 stars
1/04/02 KMG Did I add that I took a really long shit after seeing Ravolta? 1 stars
12/23/01 Shane Robert Myers!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is another favourite of mine it has everything from guns to women!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/21/01 Mister Char I felt that the movie delivered an interesting message to terrorists. Lots of explosions! 5 stars
12/12/01 Jimmy James omg, what drivel 1 stars
12/10/01 The Bomb 69 enjoyable though predictable 4 stars
11/27/01 KMG Travolta is fucking pathetic 2 stars
11/04/01 Lucky This movie Kicks ASS!!!!!!!!!! U Betta Believe Dat 5 stars
11/02/01 Toby Andrews You losers, This film PROVES beyond a doubt, that Travolta is todays CARY GRANT. 5 stars
10/01/01 Phoenix The plot doesn't make a lot of sense but it delivers what it promises, mindless action. 5 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean A run-of-the-mill action flick with Travolta looking like shit. 3 stars
8/19/01 Roy Smith Was Travolta trying? And a telegraphed ending but good action. 3 stars
8/01/01 TLsmooth I got in free and it wasn't even worth it. Travolta, watch Pulp and remember the glory days 1 stars
7/31/01 Greg S Ok, a little bit predictable but enjoyable 3 stars
7/24/01 Mike Munro More lowest common denominator junk. Only a retard could enjoy this movie. 1 stars
7/23/01 Simeon Briggs Seeing as the rest 2001's blockbusters have sucked so far, this is refreshing 4 stars
7/16/01 christopher reid the critics should relax and not hone in on all the bad things, i enjoyed this movie 4 stars
7/15/01 Koitus Pleasantly surprised .. very good "summer movie" fare! 4 stars
7/06/01 Shawn OK, 4 stars
7/03/01 bront crap, over hyped film, that borrows too much from other films 2 stars
7/02/01 Michael Stunning! The explosions were good too 4 stars
7/01/01 AsTrOboY Great action film, with a nice twist. Travolta is still great. 5 stars
7/01/01 denise link it"s an action film,just sit back and enjoy. people are being to critical 5 stars
7/01/01 chels an excellent movie with hugh jackman looking spunky and john travolta acting good as always 5 stars
7/01/01 Sam Moss Blows, Licks, & Sucks 1 stars
7/01/01 Scott Sucks Big Time 1 stars
7/01/01 Nicole I liked this movie, but it didn't amke a lasting impression on me 4 stars
7/01/01 Filmmy Too much hype for such a disappointing story. Did enjoy Hugh Jackman and Don Cheadle. 2 stars
6/30/01 The Boy in the Plastic Bubble Possibly the worst movie I've seen in 5 years. Not even entertaining! 1 stars
6/29/01 Friss Travolta needs to take a LONG sabbatical and rethink if he should be in movies..... 2 stars
6/29/01 Gizzy Action-packed, tense, the best of its kind in quite a while. Great summer blockbuster. 4 stars
6/28/01 soontobefree bleckuhewh 1 stars
6/28/01 bulletstopper Saw it twice 5 stars
6/27/01 sexx ed I think the opening sequence alone almost makes up for the films shortcomings. 4 stars
6/27/01 David O. Conrad lotta things blown up, then hallie's tits, more things blown up - movie in a nutshell 2 stars
6/25/01 Vanessa HJ was NOT TYPING....otherwise ok 3 stars
6/23/01 betty boop typical guy movie - but i managed to stay awake thru the whole thing, so i gave it 4 stars 4 stars
6/21/01 M J Knowlton Travolta & Berry were wonderful and ditto for the movie. 5 stars
6/21/01 James hamilton didn't mind it 3 stars
6/20/01 Doggy Travolta's best since Battlefield Earth 1 stars
6/20/01 Lois Got dizzy watching opening scene, but if you close your eyes the dialogue is incredible 4 stars
6/19/01 Rampage The pinnacle of what has been wrong with Hollywood: lotsa money, no skill 2 stars
6/17/01 LdyArdRhi Technoignorance at its worst...but Halle's breasts were magnificent. Travolta was Terlish. 2 stars
6/15/01 Super Nintendo Chalmers typical action-packed movie, better than Under Siege 2: Dark Territory 4 stars
6/14/01 Korey Calmettes Loved It 5 stars
6/14/01 The Fugitive This movie was as bad as the trailer to Gone in 60 Secs. Not even remotely entertaining. 1 stars
6/13/01 Crash Davis Interesting twists on good and evil, dumb computer programming montages and Hail Halle 4 stars
6/13/01 Obi Wan To watch Halle in them panties and outta her bra is worth the price of admission. 4 stars
6/12/01 cinkcool Average action flick. Fun though. 4 stars
6/12/01 malcolm Halle's boobs are worth it. not 'Memento,' of course, but still a lot of fun 4 stars
6/12/01 Mike Great Film! 5 stars
6/11/01 Thor-Leo Lots of guns, explosions, and cock-teasing, summing up to nothing 2 stars
6/11/01 XjoshX Halle Berry has nice tits. 3 stars
6/10/01 234 234 5 stars
6/10/01 fishie not too bad overall, but the technology is all hollywood and lame. 4 stars
6/09/01 AgentDS Two words: Hugh Jackman 5 stars
6/08/01 Laura Petermann J.Travolta chews up the scenery 4 stars
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  08-Jun-2001 (R)
  DVD: 01-Jun-2004



Directed by
  Dominic Sena

Written by
  Skip Woods

  John Travolta
  Hugh Jackman
  Halle Berry
  Don Cheadle
  Vinnie Jones
  Camryn Grimes

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