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Swordfish
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: Tony Pacemaker
Swordfish order
Director:
Dominic Sena

Actors:
John Travolta
Hugh Jackman
Halle Brry

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
John Travolta's a big spy guy and he needs a computer hacker (Hugh Jackman) to get millions of dollars of government funds. Oh, and along the way, Storm shows us her breasts.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
There's always a difficulty making computers interesting in movies. Either you have to go way off the deep end, like in THE MATRIX, or you have to make the typing at the keyboard as exciting as possible. I work with computers everyday, so it's really tough for me sometimes to watch computers get used in movies as the graphics and the interfaces are so overdone to the point of absurdity. But being an "action" movie, I suppose that I can forgive it somewhat here, especially since there are a couple of really cool action sequences that sort of make up for it: one involves a unique hostage situation, and the other...a flying bus (you heard me).

The director of this movie, Dominic Sena, gave us GONE IN SIXTY SECONDS, but more importantly, he gave us Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation. Sena is among a pretty decent amount of music video directors turned movie directors-- a trend that seems to be taking off, and in some cases, working. Did it work in this case? Sort of, kind of...not really. The hacker plot has been done before, and done better, in movies like (sorry) HACKERS, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, PROJECT X, and the list goes on and on. I will give credit to the scene where they "test" Jackman's hacking abilities-- a situation I might actually enjoy finding myself in, but overall I wasn't sold, the story was boring, and Travolta felt sort of fake. I read that he liked the part at the beginning of the script because it referred to DOG DAY AFTERNOON, and it had that "feel". Well, the rest of the movie didn't have that feel, but at least John got to do the cool monologue he wanted to do. Oh yeah, and Halle Berry shows us her breasts!
THE EXTRAS
Commentary: I think you really, really, really have to have liked this movie a lot to dig the commentary by director Dominic Sena. I didn't dig SWORDFISH that much, so the commentary did leave something to be desired. However, my general guideline for commentaries is that it should be like having the director/cast/crew sitting next to you on the couch, and Sena delivers that.

The Making of Swordfish: Hey look kids, it's another HBO first look special slapped onto a DVD. I hate the HBO first look specials. They never go into that much detail, and are created solely for selling the movie. That's a problem, because when you see it on HBO, it gives too much away, and when you see it on the DVD, it's pointless because you've already purchased or rented the movie. But if you like seeing the actors blow sunshine up the director's posterior, this extra will work for you. It lasts about 15 minutes.

The Effects in Focus: This was interesting. I'm always a bit torn when they show how special effects are done. Sort of like the magician revealing his/her secret. But it was fascinating to see how the bus sequence was put together. A real short sequence though, and I thought there could have been more.

Alternate Endings: Another controversial DVD bonus in my book. Sort of always reminds me of Wayne saying, "Let's do the Scooby Doo ending!" I understood Sena's reasoning for abandoning the endings he did and I won't spoil them here (you can watch them with his optional commentary tracks), but these neither enhanced nor took away from the movie for me.

DVD-ROM Stuff: Mac users, sorry. PC users-- you have advertisements for Warner and SWORDFISH (why advertise a movie that you are holding in your hands?) and you will find a game that lets you try and get into the "Restrictive Files" for further extras. I had a tough time with some of the downloads, and it seemed like the ends didn't justify the means.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I would say that this is a decent movie to get if you're not in a "thinking" mood, and want to see some stuff get blown up, a guy get serviced, and Halle...aaah, Halle! Well, you've probably heard by now, but just to answer any questions, yes she does show them, and it didn't quite meet the build up, er, anticipation. But hey, naked is naked.
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