Phil's Review of Swordfish
Possibly the stupidest movie title ever? we do find out why during the film but still. Possibly the stupidest look for Travolta? the most camp hairdo? gotta be contenders huh.
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. 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.