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Directed By: Dominic Sena
Starring: John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle and Vinnie Jones.
One of the first rules of story telling and film making (if such a thing as rules are to apply) is that you should hook your reader/audience in the first page or in the first five minutes. They should forget that they just sat through a pile of previews for five other films and that butter from the popcorn is soaking through the bag, through your jeans and all over your shoes.
Swordfish does this in spades. It has a uniquely shot, well built argument that involves Dog Day Afternoon. Talk about brave. Already a line is being drawn in the sand. It is as if Dominic Sena has leaned over your shoulder to whisper 'We are going to outdo Dog Day Afternoon and show Pacino and Lumet where they went wrong'.
And after that boast, the opening sequence becomes so viciously horrific it appears that promise may be kept. Then, sadly, another five minutes follow another ten minutes and so on until one realizes that you were seduced and now you have to pay for your sins. This is not to be compared to Dog Day Afternoon but other summer blockbuster flicks of the same ilk. For the attempt it receives an 'A'. For the result, a solid B but slaps across the pretentious celluloid face for the loftiness of a comparison to the classic Dog Day Afternoon.
The rest of the movie is set-up, action sequence, more set-up and back stabbing followed by more elaborate action sequences. My biggest beef with flicks like this is the imbalance of intelligence. One side is also much more intelligent than the other. I personally love to see a good action sequence but love it even more when the two sides are equally matched, raising the stakes with each thought as it were.
Swordfish is a techno-bank robbery film when it comes down to it. Not much more than that. Hugh Jackman is a hacker of the highest calibre who is recruited by Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) to break in and re-route $9 billion dollars to his dummy accounts. This ends up involving car chases, flying buses and rocket launchers. Again, too bad, because that opening sequence is such a grabber that it will probably dominate the highlight reel of the DVD on it's release.
Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul
2 Behind-The-Scenes Documentaries: The Making Of Swordfish and The Effects In Focus
3 Alternate Endings Not Included In Theatrical Release
Restricted Files: Hidden Features
Original Theatrical Trailer
Cast/Director Film Highlights
Video: Widescreen 2.35:1 (Anamorphic)
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
The DVD Review: