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Showing 1-10 of 42 reviews(3 star). See all 287 reviews
on July 3, 2003
After watching the additional material at the end of the movie it became perfectly clear that my assessment of the movie while watching it ('what a waste of celluloid') was on the money. The producer, commenting on the escape on the bus at the end, noted that they were trying to do something that no one else had done before in an ending.
A bus? How in God's name would criminals escape by being on a bus being flown through the air by a helicopter? It makes for some fancy special effects (that are just a bit too reminiscent of The Matrix) but it's ridiculous, so ridiculous as to not even be entertaining. Perhaps the best thing about the movie was its premise. But once the film starts rolling, it just meanders about seeking to shock the viewer with fancy stunts and dialogue. And its attempt to 'better' Dog Day Afternoon was a laugh.
It has such potential but it was just too over the top and was much too high on its own sense of the spectacular and lacks substance. Travolta, cool as he can be, never quit gives the impression that he is as cool as he looks. He falls apart too quickly. Jackman's relationship with his daughter seems a bit contrived and Berry's role is pretty much as a prop. Don Cheadle is probably the best of the four on the box cover but the movie is a bit too puffed up on its own looks.
We never care about any of the characters, not even the hostages. The special effects have all been done before and are basically pointless, kind of like kids breaking things to get some attention. Obviously, I was really disappointed. I can't say it's a waste of time but there are better ways to spend two hours.
There is one redeeming feature about this film: the soundtrack. Funny thing about it though is that I couldn't tell you where the songs on the soundtrack were in the movie. Oakenfold's dub of The Word (of 'Grease' fame, penned by Barry Gibb) appears but for an instant in the movie. I actually got the album before I saw the movie. I should've known that a movie that boasts about its soundtrack before the film actually appears is already in trouble. Fortunately, I can listen to the soundtrack free of any images of the film while listening to it.
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on July 19, 2002
I'll admit I often enjoy movies for shallow reasons. For instance, I'm a fan of Australian actor Hugh Jackman, who, in addition to his demonstrated thespian skills, is quite attractive. I never tire of looking at him, and I've made a point of seeing all his American films, no matter how good ("X-Men") or bad ("Someone Like You"). Which explains why I went out of my way to see "Swordfish," which was actually better than I expected. A fast-moving plot powered by John Travolta's over-the-top performance, along with Jackman, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle and blink-you'll-miss-'em roles for Drea de Matteo of "The Sopranos" and esteemed playwright/actor Sam Shepard. Berry's ballyhooed nudity was gratuitous, but she projected actual acting chops in this film, along with Jackman, who didn't waste the dollars spent on his dramatic training. Three flying buses for this thoroughly enjoyable flick.
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on December 16, 2003
Swordfish: Many people think of this movie as the movie that they had to pay the most beautiful actress alive to go topless. She did and many men flocked to see it just for that reason...I was one of them.:) That made critics believe there wasn't much to the movie if they had to go to that extent to draw attention to it. The truth is...well, it wasn't that great a movie and had that little stunt never happened chances are I would not own the DVD now. The overall movie is okay. John Travolta's character is sinister and cold hearted. Halle Berry never looked better...she gets 5 stars.:) Hugh Jackman's role was nothing special. The movie was a pretty hefty had a chance to be really good at times but just didn't click. There were some nice action scenes but nothing I haven't seen before...the hacking scenes were not believable and there was a lot of corniness to the film...including the ending. There was a cool scene in which a bus flies over the city...but overall this movie is nothing special. Special features include 2 alternate endings. It looks like they did choose the best of the 3 endings though.
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on December 15, 2003
Ok, I'll admit that "Swordfish" is not a good movie when all is said and done. The one-star reviews here all make valid points. The script and plot are indeed beyond stupid, no question about it. However, I don't think this movie is completely worthless. It does have its good points. And what are those? Great action sequences and Halle Berry topless. There, the truth has been said. Accept it or don't accept it, it's up to you. But the truth is the truth.
First off, the great action sequences. There are enough of them to keep anyone with a pulse on the edge of their seat. And the bullet-time shot of the hostage being blown up at the beginning is worth the price of admission alone. A rather cruel scene, but superbly done nonetheless. Even the people I know who loathe this movie all admit that this scene is truly spectacular. I would even argue that it easily rivals any bullet-time shot in "The Matrix" trilogy. It's that good. Another scene worth mentioning is when a helicopter lifts a bus full of hostages and flies it through midair in the middle of skyscrapers. All the other action sequences and stunts are great too although they're pretty much run-of-the-mill.
And of course, we have Halle Berry's topless scene that will make you forever worship the person who invented the "pause" and "slow motion" feature. Enough said.
Bottom line: "Swordfish" is a shallow movie with shallow characters, but what it lacks in intellect it more than makes up for in eye candy. The cast all turn out good performances, or at least as good as they can turn out with the sloppy script they're given to work with. If you're thinking about buying this I would strongly suggest renting it first. If you don't set your expectations too high you might just find yourself enjoying the ride.
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on November 7, 2003
Simply put, the cinematic vasectomy of a script reeked badly of stale pizza and bong water, complete with its cheerfully care-free grade-school world views.
Not one trite action movie cliche is left unturned --
(1) A smash and crash background score with a lifetime supply of techno
(2) And a Fuji-color sepia tone to go with know, that yellowish brown look-ma-I'm-so-cool kind of film glow, the type used in wannabe hitech movies
(3) An oh-so-cool "hacker" (sigh) who can do it all given enough number of powerful Dell servers, including guessing a 32-hash password in less than 1 minute. It's also a bit tiring to see Hollywood propagate this doozy myth where a single key press brings up screenloads of highly classified information.
(4) Our dear hacker of course lives in an abandoned stilt bus outta town, in abject poverty, being perfectly content with it given his honesty and all
(5) A wrap-on prop of a female (played, gulp, by Halle Berry) who knows everything about everyone at the right time, because well, she is an underdog for the.... [You Know, One of Those Highly Confidential Type Organizations]
(6) A daylight bank robbery with guns bigger than the buses they were carried in, and masks and hostages, a la "Dog Day Afternoon"
(7) A rich man who can afford it all in his swank disco, including promising 20 million to the hacker for this supercool banking hack which'll allow them to interchange monies between all these international banks
(8) A needless gratuitous nudie scene, and then a needless gratuitous nudie scene
(9) Oh, and let's not forget a pulpy twist in the end that so badly defies logic, you have to be a Jessica Simpson to fall for it. Plus, I wonder if US police force has at least a couple of helicopters of its own.
There is something about the movie that makes it watchable. Thrice. May be it is precisely the kind of pulpy action that us media junkies seem to find our escapism in. It's all in the package:
(1) Mindblowing explosions. I mean, really!
(2) Some pretty edge-of-the-seat chases
(3) Great fight sequences
(4) A helicopter in a high-rise town
(5) A fantastic background score
A pretty decent fare overall for action buffs. May also be a good male-bonding movie, especially for guys just beginning to "ping" and "tracert." If you enjoy The Matrix trilogy, you just may enjoy this too.
Go for it. And leave your common sense at the door.
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on February 22, 2003
This movie goes through great pains to make us believe that there are super-secret organizations, sanctioned by the government, to keep our way of life intact. They have absolute power, unlimited resources, and if innocents get in the way, well, it's the greater good that has to be taken into consideration.
Well, something like this probably does exist to some degree, but losing any sleep over it is not going to change a thing. And as silly as this movie can sometimes make it, such as having the resources to literally lift a bus out of traffic with a helicopter shouldn't bring out too much of a cynical streak in us. For in the case of this movie, the execution of a taut thriller is what matters.
The movie works because John Travolta carries it. Whatever you think of his career, the man's a born movie star. He convincingly portrays a man who will kill civilians to get his point across. And he will so convincingly give his justification that you might actually buy it.
The plot centers around a convicted computer hacker, played by Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman. He is not allowed to touch a computer as part of his parole, and is also banned from seeing his daughter. Enter Mr. Travolta, who makes him an offer he can't refuse. He does this with a combination of fear and incentive. The fear is on his life, and the incentive is via money and Halle Berry.
The movie works because it keeps you guessing who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys. Jackman has to not only use his hacking skills, but wits and physical ability to overcome obstacle after obstacle. This include Ms. Berry, in one of the finest nude scenes of a major star you will ever see in a movie. If Jackman needed a final push to get his cooperation, well, it would probably work for me, too.
But all through it swaggers Travolta, who is unbending through the whole movie in his utter confidence. While you one cannot condone his methods, one can probably concede there may be a use for him in our world. Ms. Berry, I mean the movie, is definitely worth seeing.
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on July 12, 2002
Yes, the only reason I watched this film is that I think Hugh Jackman is such a terrific leading man. He didn't disappoint me here either. I thoroughly enjoyed him as a top notch computer hacker newly released from prison who is trying to get his life together. He is recruited by John Travolta to do the computer hack of a lifetime for a huge monetary score. Where this film is preposterous though is with that John Travolta role. His playing a criminal mastermind is so over the top that I found myself laughing out loud every time he came on camera to indulge in yet more action adventure violent excess. Halle Berry is unrecognizable as the same actress who stars in "Monster's Ball" and is probably glad of that fact. She was strictly undressed window dressing in this film. Next to Hugh Jackman, the other two saving graces to the film are: 1) a 360-degree panoramic stop motion bombing scene that is incredibly artistic albeit violent and 2) a huge bus being carried over a city by a helicopter as Travolta's getaway vehicle.
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on January 29, 2002
Many people have viciously torn at Swordfish as if it was a poor flick, but if a person takes it as it was intended - a solid semi-psychological sexually-violent thriller, it works well. For those of us who are both bright and like cool equipment and an ensnaring plot, however superficial in some ways, this film is both entertaining and impressive.
Travolta is very believable as a man necessarily convincedthat he's bigger and better than anyone else simply because he believes. Jackman again unloads a credible performance, and Berry is lovely as ever.
Overall credible, perhaps the largest hole in it is in one car chase: racing like hell down a back alley they come out onto a busy street only seconds later at only 20 mph. No no, either show them slowing down or hammer it through the traffic...
So for the special effect thriller junkies out there, this one is both worth watching and owning, because in a few months you will want to see it again: if you are into quality period pieces (Elizabeth, Amadeus), solid war documentaries (Blunders of WW2) or movies (Saving Private Ryan, Enemy at the Gate, Black Hawk Down), morality tales (Talented Mr. Ripley, Finding Forrester) or relationship stories (You Can Count on Me), for lighter fare that racks 'em up, check this one out...
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on January 6, 2002
Swordfish is good movie, but you have to pay attention to enjoy it. As Travolta's character said in the movie, its all about misdirection, i.e. you only believe what you see and hear.
It's the classic story of a big bank heist only set in today's new cyber age where money is stolen with keyboard instead of guns. John Travolta plays the role of the witty and vile bad guy, however he's too charming not to like. In the movie, he recruits Hugh Jackman's character to help him in the heist from some secret government bank accounts.
Critics have based the movie but here's what makes it good. Its thrilling because of all it's twists and turns, you won't know how the movie turns out until the end. The ending is quite unexpected too. Your never really sure whos using who during the movie either, which is why you have to pay attention or else you'll miss a key part and end up saying "gee that was a dumb movie".
Once again, to steal a line, misdirection is the key to the movie. You may even question if Travolta's character was really the bad guy or patriotic American after watching Swordfish.
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on January 1, 2002
Swordfish tells the story of a renegade group of former U.S. government spooks and their convoluted plans to steal hundreds of millions of dollars to finance their mysterious global plans. I don't want to give away too much of the story, but it's a bit far-fetched at the very least.
Hugh Jackman plays a computer hacker who just can't resist a big caper. John Travolta is the enigmatic Gabriel, former black ops agent of the highest degree. Gabriel's scheme is a little foggy and his motives are horribly misguided. Halle Berry is little more than window dressing, her primary role to appear topless or in her lingerie in as many scenes as possible.
All in all, Swordfish is an entertaining action movie that's pretty short on plot and featuring a shady and overconvoluted conspiracy story. The action sequences are well-filmed and exciting, but like so many movies these days, this one depends on the excitement to carry the film rather than the story. It's a fun ride at times, but you come away fairly empty handed.
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