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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Swordfish

Starring: John Travolta, Halle Berry
Director: Dominic Sena
Rated: R
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: June 2001
Genres: Action, Suspense

*Also starring: Hugh Jackman, Vinnie Jones, Don Cheadle, Drea de Matteo

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

"You know, the problem with Hollywood is that they make s**t," says John Travolta as this enigmatic cyber-crime caper opens. He rants on about how films, particularly "Dog Day Afternoon," lack realism, failing to push the envelope. But you're jarred to ruthless reality when you realize he's holding 22 hostages, wired with explosives, in the midst of a heist at L.A.'s World Banc. Then a flashback reveals what happened three days earlier when he sent Halle Berry to recruit "the most dangerous hacker in America," Hugh Jackman, an ex-con on probation for computer piracy. The only bait he'll bite is enough cash to gain custody of his young daughter whose alcoholic mother has now married a porno-producer. But money's no problem since, in a perverse twist on patriotism, Travolta's determined to pull off a massive cyber-heist, stealing $9.5 billion in a DEA money-laundering slush fund that's code-named Swordfish. Despite a bizarre haircut, Travolta's menacing and manipulative as "a driven, unflinching, calculating machine who takes what he wants when he wants and disappears." In contrast, Jackman ("X-Men") embodies the reluctant hero, while Berry delivers shifting signals about her motives, along with baring her breasts, and Don Cheadle is a determined FBI cyber-crimes agent. Despite writer Skip Woods' complex, high-tech cyber-babble about decrypting data and hidden worms, director Dominic Sena ("Gone in 60 Seconds") basically loves to blow things up, going over-the-top in terms of shoot-outs, car crashes and shattering glass. But the final spectacular confrontation, involving a Sikorski helicopter and a bus full of hostages, is truly jaw-dropping. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Swordfish" blasts in with an intense, action-packed, fast-paced 7. It's a dynamite thriller!

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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