This film is basically about hacking computers, stealing lots of money and transferring it here there and everywhere in a flurry of slick sexy sequences. That's pretty much it, Travolta's character tells us its all in the name of national security and for US protection against terrorism, which it does seem to be. So this begs the question why is Travolta and his goons made out to be bad guys when they're working for the US government and hitting back at dangerous terrorists? The FBI finds out about the operation, OK its a dodgy op but what's wrong with it?
Apart from being very much like an ensemble 'Bond' flick the film actually offers a few interesting insights. Halle Berry's first topless scene is the big one (no pun intended), doesn't really add anything to the film and feels pointless but its there. This was only Vinnie Jones second major Hollywood film and again he has very little to say, still weird to see him in a Hollywood film at the time though. Twas also only Jackman's second Hollywood action film also, after 'X-Men'. This was one of the earlier films for Cheadle which started to push him further into bigger action films. Likewise this was a film within a string of action films for Travolta that all kicked off after success with a certain Tarantino film.
A bland film really with little to show, the action is impressive but doesn't feel required. It also seems way way over the top just for the sake of it. The plot doesn't really make much sense, its simple yet made out to be grand and complex with lots of tech talk and government plots. Thing is you can see right through it, its just an action film with too many big stars that are knee deep in makeup. An odd collection of stars too, none of them really gel together.
I really got the impression that certain scenes and stunts are in there just to keep you the audience interested, as none of it serves the plot. At the start where Travolta's character is doing his own little Tarantino-esq bit of dialog, Berry topless as said before, Jackman's character getting a blow job whilst trying to crack a code, sexy ladies asses on display, a car chase where Travolta uses an M60 machine gun (I think) etc...The story could be told without all that.
Its like a compilation of sexy smooth cool sequences which is assumed people will like. The actual plot and character development seems to have been added afterwards as an afterthought.
The finale typifies how the director tries to make this out to be a clever film. Travolta's character seemingly escapes in a chopper but gets blown to kingdom come by a rocket launcher. We then discover that a body double was in the chopper and Gabriel tricked everyone. But how did Gabriel know his chopper would get shot down? What if Jackman's character didn't use the rocket launcher? He didn't have to, he may not even of thought of it seeing as the weapon was back on the bus.
That was the clever twist the film had been building up to! that and another which wasn't exactly groundbreaking. So really the bad guys entire dastardly plan seemed to hinge on whether or not the good guy would use a particular weapon at a particular time, that's some good crystal ball skills right there.
Like paper maché first it's wet, limp and thin later it's brittle, vacant, completely void and similar to a daily newspaper my interest had wained after reading the funnies!
The dialogue was "Stan", "Stan", "Stan" - like repeating his name (Hugh Jackman) would somehow make us like him more, wrong!
Awful action scenes and score. Storyline was inept and the acting wasn't any better.
Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) is a "hacker" who is released on parole after spending time in prison for hacking FBI's cyber-surveillance systems. Left by his wife, not allowed to visit his daughter, he is trying to have a simple living away from computers and technologies when he is approached by Ginger ( Halle Berry) and Gabriel (John Travolta). The latter is an undercover spy whose plan is to steal illegal government funds and use them for counter-terrorism black-operations. To achieve this, however, he needs the help of the un-cooperative Stanley who is the only one who could potentially crack the system. Unwillingly participating, driven by his desire to be reunited with his daughter and chased by the FBI, Stanley has to find his way out. A way in which he provides to Gabriel what he wants, gets his daughter back and remain out of prison - a task that would require not only his technical skills, but also going through a mass of explosions, car chases and shootouts.
Unfortunately, the biggest issue of Swordfish is that the story seems too shallow and unrealistic. The plot is like a patchwork of statements, assumptions and quite improbable developments which in the end make the movie worth seeing only because of the action mayhem and the actors. Speaking of the actors, Travolta, Berry, Jackman and Don Cheadle could be considered the only reason for enjoying Dominic Sena's mediocre delivery. In spite of the narrative shortcomings and the highly improbable content, the quartet is capable of pulling off the better of their characters and to keep the audience mildly involved in the movie throughout all the 97 minutes.
In conclusion, it pretty much depends from which angle is Swordfish approached. Taken from the 2016 point of view, the movie seems even ridiculous when it comes to the plot, while the special effects are still stunning! If you try, however, to go back to 2001 when "hacking" seemed so cool and hi-tech, and conspiracies did not have to seem too plausible, then you will certainly have a good portion of hi-tech, stylish action to enjoy.