Swordfish is a superficial movie, so let's address the superficial facts: Halle Berry was well paid to bare her breasts in this gratuitous cyber-action thriller, and while Berry's many fans will enjoy a cheap drool at the actress's expense, her brief topless scene doesn't justify this insipid parade of glossy violence from the director of 2000's Gone in 60 Seconds. Add yet another notch in John Travolta's bad-movie belt, and you've got Hollywood bankruptcy in full blossom. Go ahead, marvel at director Dominic Sena's biggest money shot--a 360-degree pan as a robbery hostage is blown to bits by a bomb that pelts a surrounding SWAT squad with deadly ball bearings. The plot, as if it matters: Travolta's a slick, self-appointed antiterrorist who recruits a top-flight computer hacker (Hugh Jackman) to transfer a $9.5 billion government slush fund into a cluster of secret accounts. Berry's the curvaceous bait who lures Jackman into the scheme; Don Cheadle's an FBI agent hot on their tails; and an obligatory subplot turns Jackman's daughter (Camryn Grimes) into an innocent bargaining chip. By the time a hostage transport bus is airlifted in the film's not-so-thrilling climax, Swordfish will hold your passive attention or put you to sleep--it all depends on your tolerance for Sena's brand of derivative bloodlust. It's pornography of a sort, and efficiently mechanical, but you can bet good money that Berry and her costars didn't cash their paychecks proudly. --Jeff Shannon
Have you ever heard of Harry Houdini? Well he wasn't like today's magicians who are only interested in television ratings. He was an artist. He could make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theater filled with people, and do you know how he did that? Misdirection.
What the f*** are you talking about?
Misdirection. What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes.
You know what the problem with Hollywood is? They make shit. Unbelievable, unremarkable shit. Now I'm not some grungy wannabe filmmaker that's searching for existentialism through a haze of bong smoke or something. No, it's easy to pick apart bad acting, short-sighted directing, and a purely moronic stringing together of words that many of the studios term as "prose". No, I'm talking about the lack of realism. Realism; not a pervasive element in today's modern American cinematic vision. Take Dog Day Afternoon, for example. Arguably Pacino's best work, short of Scarface and Godfather Part 1, of course. Masterpiece of directing, easily Lumet's best. The cinematography, the acting, the screenplay, all top-notch. But... they didn't push the envelope. Now what if in Dog Day, Sonny REALLY wanted to get away with it? What if - now here's the tricky part - what if he started killing hostages right away? No mercy, no quarter. "Meet our demands or the pretty blonde in the bellbottoms gets it the back of the head." Bam, splat! What, still no bus? Come on! How many innocent victims splattered across a window would it take to have the city reverse its policy on hostage situations? And this is 1976; there's no CNN, there's no CNBC, there's no internet! Now fast forward to today, present time, same situation. How quickly would the modern media make a frenzy over this? In a matter of hours, it'd be biggest story from Boston to Budapest! Ten hostages die, twenty, thirty; bam bam, right after another, all caught in high-def, computer-enhanced, color corrected. You can practically taste the brain matter. All for what? A bus, a plane? A couple of million dollars that's federally insured? I don't think so. Just a thought. I mean, it's not within the realm of conventional cinema... but what if?
War? Who are we at war with?
Anyone who impinges on America's freedom. Terrorist states, Stanley. Someone must bring their war to them. They bomb a church, we bomb 10. They hijack a plane, we take out an airport. They execute American tourist, we tactically nuke an entire city. Our job is to make terrorism so horrific that is becomes unthinkable to attack Americans.
What are you still doing here? Look, I'm beginning to lose my sense of humor about all this.
Ok, then I'll cut to the chase. If you want a chance in hell at getting your daughter back you better listen up. Unless of course, you want to stay here, in this loser existence, while your daughter grows up to be a fluffer in her new daddy's videos.
With the courtesy of not confusing your own childhood with my daughter's.