So ye ‘ol fisherman have come looking for a glowing review of Swordfish, eh? Will you better throw that fish back into the sea. Now I like sushi; the only one in my family that does, and although they may have enjoyed this film, I would rather throw it into the sea than watch it again. However salt water isn’t good on DVD’s (especially if you forget to clean them by wiping them from the center to the outer rim and not in a circular motion).
Recommend this product?
Director Dominic Sena opens up this movie on a blurry note and I mean that not only within the context of what is said, but also how it’s presented before us. The camera moves like it’s trying to hide Travolta’s bad goatee. Are we supposed to think this is cool cinematography? Does blurring someone supposed to imply that they themselves are blurry, hidden, uncovered, unrecognized, unknown, or some other lame definition to describe what the director potentially had in mind?
Soon we are followed by Sena’s Gone In 60 seconds homage to explosion scenes which looks like a cross between your every day typical explosion and The Matrix. The explosion is cool to look at, but boy does it last forever. We travel almost full circle watching windows explode, people in mid air flight, cars flipping up in the air, people diving to take cover, etc. Already Sena has set up two set pieces that will make people automatically discuss his film. Three if you consider engaging in yet another tiring discussion on Travolta’s elementary acting abilities. The first set piece, the explosion. I say this without hesitation, people who love explosions will love the rest of the movie—probably purely for that action scene. The second set piece, the critical analysis of Hollywood that introduces the film. How is director Sena going to top all of this? Oh yeah, show Halle Berry’s boobs!
If that’s not enough show Hugh Jackman wearing nothing but a towel hitting golf balls off the top of his trashy trailer. Or show him getting a blow j*b while a gun is pointed to his head.
Besides the sex, director Sena also knows to throw in a few caring scenes. The little girl separated from her father forced to live with her alcoholic mother and porn director step-father. The little girl who will have a part in the film toward the end, simply because it’s a requirement whenever a child has a part in an action film. Just for the heck of it, a little governmental conspiracy is sprinkled in alongside a social discussion on terrorism.
In other words, Swordfish has something for just about anyone. Sex. Violence. Car Chases. Nudity. Techno Babble. Governmental Conspiracy. Gun Shots. Terrorism. Topless Men. Blow j*bs. Cool looking cars. Techno Music. Kids. Porn. Alcohol. Dead bodies. Good v. Bad. Good v. Good. Bad v. Bad. Cool computers. Money. And an ending so obvious the fish know to stay away.
Swordfish stars John Travolta as Gabriel a man who one character describes as “exist(ing) in a world beyond your world. What we only fantasize he does. He lives a life where nothing is beyond. All his charm and charisma, his wealth, his expensive toys, he is a driven unflinching calculated machine. Takes what he wants, when we wants and disappears.” Geez, I wonder if in order to be an associate of Gabriel’s you had to memorize that statement before you’d be accepted into the club?
Anyways, Gabriel is a man out for money. You see the government 15 years ago set aside 4 million dollars in a secret account. Today, the money, via interests has ballooned to over 9 billion (now I want the name of that bank!). But the money is heavily protected, therefore Gabriel needs to bring a computer hacker onto the payroll to get access to the money. Enter Hugh Jackson who takes the prize away from Ryan Phillippe for being the cutest hacker. Plus he doesn’t wear glasses, so he’s a cool hacker. And he can multi-task. Not only can he hack a seemingly impossible code in less than 60 seconds, but he can also do it while receiving a blow j*b. Bet Wolverine couldn’t do that!
Travolta plays his character like a cross between his characters in Face/Off and Broken Arrow. Cool yet over confident. A ladies man who likes to spend more time surrounded by other men. He likes to be calm, but also enjoys yelling whenever he’s trying to make a point. Travolta also has his patented smirk down solid and uses it frequently throughout the course of the film. Overall, he’s better than Battlefield Earth, probably because he didn’t have the ridiculous nose thing attached to his face. This time, he just has a ridiculous looking goatee.
Hugh Jackman (Stanley Jobson) plays his character like a cross between his character in X-Men and, well X-Men, minus the metal claws of course. He’s calm and cool, but has a very quick temper when tested. Heck, even throws Halle Berry out of his trashy trailer without a second thought. He loves his kid and hate his situation so much that he actually picks her up outside of school and drives her home…and parks in front of the house in clear sight, just so we can have a loveable moment.
Halle Berry (simply known as Ginger) plays her character like a cross between…what has Halle Berry been in recently? All I know is that she’s a pretty good actress that got an additional $500,000 to show her breasts for 3 seconds in the movie. I hear she is getting even more for showing more in her next movie. Overall she plays the sexy sidekick to a T. She’s so great in fact that she knows exactly when to undress and introduce yet another plot line. I wonder if she had been getting undressed and dressing all night long just in the hopes of having Jackson’s character walk through the door.
The rest of the story is made up of twist and turns, explosions here and there, and of course a few tense moments that were created because without them everyone in the audience would of fallen asleep. Take for example the “falling down the hill” scene. If any movie-goer had started to snooze beforehand, they surely would have been woken up during this scene. They roll down the hill for at least 30 seconds! Lots of loud music, lots of grunting, lots of quick camera actions to accent the rolling process, and viola!...your viewers are instantly awake. Oh, and just to remind them that this is a brainless action film, make sure all of your characters have perfect hair and very little dust on them.
However, don’t be too discouraged to see Swordfish. It is just a movie. Yes it is. It’s destined to give us an escape from our boring lives where we wake up early in the morning and go to work for the man. Movies are supposed to be an escape from reality. Some movies do drama. Others do comedy. Some are adventurous. For some, Swordfish was a great movie. If I could simply look at movies with a blind faith, then I might have been one of those faithful followers preaching it’s greatness. But, gosh darn it. When a movie as clear as Swordfish is trying to toy with me for the sake of making a profit, then I just can’t let it swim by. When a movie is made that includes so many different elements in it for the sole sake that it can, I just can’t let if off the hook.
Below this review you will find a list of thoughts in no particular order that I jotted down while watching this movie. I included them here, because for one it’s very rare that I get the opportunity to watch a movie with my laptop in my lap and second because there are a few points in the notes that I didn’t include in this opinion.
Overall, I simply didn’t find much blind enjoyment in Swordfish. It had way too many tricks or gimmicks to keep me engaged. The Matrix had plenty of tricks and gimmicks too, but it also had an engaging storyline. Although the special effects got the most attention, the story was equally as important. No so in Swordfish. All you have to know is that it has something to do with hacking and money—and action just happens to be included. It’s not the worse movie out there. Nor is it a complete waste of your money. But it’s not all that good and it’s definitely not great, unless you compare it to Domestic Disturbance.
Notes on Swordfish:
1. if you need to make it seem like your making out, make sure you continue to make out even after the threat is gone.
2. even if you get your viewers attention with some Hollywood social commentary, make sure you keep them by employing some special effects and weird shaving techniques on your main star.
3. make sure you have plenty of scenes were people are partying down for some reason and part ways by a mere glance. Are they hired to party just in case someone important walks in?
4. if one of your main stars is a hacker, show him a bunch of computer monitors with a comet crossing the various screen and impress him by saying, “pretty impressive is it?”
5. if something is blurry on screen does that mean we are supposed to think that the person shown on screen is blurred?
6. why do people who aren’t supposed to do one thing always set themselves up for capture. Note to bad guys, if you aren’t supposed to see someone, don’t pull up in front of their place during the daylight thinking that they are on the toilet and won’t see you out their window.
7. Swordfish has the longest tumble down a cliff I’ve ever seen.
8. plus there is no blood and their hair is clean and non dusty. At least the guy who got hit in the nose has a little bit of blood (dried blood of course).
9. don’t you just love it how in the middle of the movie, the story will switch from bad guy, to bad government (with compounding interest) to give even the bad guy a reason for existing!
10. music roars and gets louder while the bank comes into frame.
11. lots of close-ups of cabling to show the transfer. Lots of scary music to accompany it. Lots of computer graphics to assist it.
12. bad government compounded by the bad senator.
13. bad government looks at bad guy as a dog, therefore bad government becomes more bad than bad guy only leaving good guy and not the good police who are full of badness on their own, to be the ultimate good. Makes lots of sense!
14. good guy hacker sweats and concentrates on hacking code during loud techno music and several cigarettes and concentration like he is either playing during the fourth quarter of a football game or about to score with a woman for the first time. Either you will love and laugh at these turn of events, or you will make note of yet another reason that this movie sucks.
15. bad guy seen dead in a wine cellar. Immediately following…the bad guy (not as bad as the government) starts to tell all through poetry. Then a car chase. Finally some action scenes.
16. in any car chase don’t forget to have cars exploding and flipping over each other. Lots of bullets (make sure they don’t hit your primary characters) and make sure you capture lots of close-ups of glass breaking and bullet holes hitting objects. Have little discussion except for heighten discussion including “keep going” “go” “hard left” “jesus!” and so on.
17. question: why is it that in the first scene glass shot with a bullet makes a nice clean hole, yet in car chases it shatters from a single bullet.
18. why is it that simple scenes involving a simply helicopter ride require such anticipation music.
19. if you want to confuse your viewers kill two people with 48 frames of film.
20. in the end it all comes town to terrorism. The bad guy is doing this for the good of America. Terrorists do this, we do it back, but worse. No wonder this movie was release in a timely fashion. Perhaps the film’s industry perfectly timed this video release after September 11th.
21. never have a little girl in the movie’s if you’re going to be a bad guy. If you are, then get her away, far, far away. If you don’t she end up in the climatic end.
22. “let her go” only works half the time.
23. never forget to play out the foreshadow even if it occurs at the very very end.
24. what stupid designer decided to make the school bus at the end of the movie draped with what looks like a computer chip!?!
25. john travolta = george bush. “what country will harbor terrorist after they see what I can do”
26. do we really need the marketing meeting about action to accelerate the action of the climax. Can we say cheesy?
27. if this was happening today, fighters jets would be in the air before the helicopter touched down.
28. unless you’re the movie memento a does not equal b, it equals z. in Swordfish, if you haven’t figured this out, even after the main bad guy talks how Houdini, then you need help.
29. does this movie ever end?