Swordfish (2001)

Rating: **
Release Date: 6/8/01
Producer: Joel Silver
Director: Dominic Sena
Cast: John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle

Gabriel (John Travolta) is a member of a super secret anti-terrorism organization who is looking for the best computer hacker in the world to help him crack some super difficult encryption scheme. After his first candidate gets bumped off, he sends super sexy Ginger (Halle Berry) to recruit a down on his luck ex-convict named Stanley (Hugh Jackman). After enough persuasion, Stan finally takes the job, only to help him regain custody of his daughter. Laughably, the courts have decided that her junkie porn star mother is more fit to care for the little girl than Stan is. What follows is a ridiculous carnival ride of twists and jerks as we navigate through the plot holes and logic flaws of an increasingly incoherant story. The premise here is that if you baffle the audience enough, they'll eventually stop questioning what's going on. Fortunately, there's a somewhat happy ending as Stan and his adorable daughter finally get back together, and mom can never bother them again.

Not surprisingly, the film isn't very good. First of all, John Travolta is ridiculous and has really bad hair (think "Pulp Fiction" (1995) here). Secondly, director Dominic Sena (from the misguided "Gone In Sixty Seconds" (2000) ) seems lost and unfocussed, paying more attention to over-the-top schlock than character development and plot advancement. Third is of course the hand of producer Joel Silver, whose only claim to fame on his resume of bad action films is "The Matrix" (1999). It's a sure bet that any film that boasts the tag line "from the producer of The Matrix" isn't going to be very good. (you never hear anyone say "from the producer of Fair Game...") And finally there's the story, which makes less and less sense as the movie progresses. Don't think about it or your brain will explode. However, I managed to walk away with two things from this movie: one extremely exciting action/effects shot (which happens in the first ten minutes of the film) and the impossibly sexy Halle Berry (hubba hubba!!!). When all else fails, you can just fix your attention on her tight little body. And to be fair, Hugh Jackman is quite charming and Don Cheadle does a fine job with his role.