a critiQal film review Swordfish (2001)

Plot: Life is looking pretty bleak for ex-con Stanley Jobson (Jackman)...until a mysterious stranger named Ginger (Berry) introduces him to Gabriel (Travolta), a man in need of his computer talents, and willing to pay him $10 million for them. All Stanley has to do is help Gabriel electronically steal a government slush fund.

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  • ...Jackman and Cheadle help make this one action flick worth seeing.

This is not your standard action movie. Sure, it has all the big stunts and explosions associated with the typical big action flick, but it also uses them to help with the plot. The plot may be a bit far-fetched at times, but there is something of substance behind the explosions, unlike the typical action flick you see nowadays.

The characters are all well done. Jackman and Travolta both do good jobs as the leading characters, with Halle Berry and Don Cheadle giving good performances as well. With action movies, you don’t tend to inspect the characters as much. You look more to see if they carry off their roles, and if they are more involved than just a front. The characters in this are by no means award-worthy, but that would be wasted in such a summer movie like this one.

Vinnie Jones continues his streak of good movies (Snatch, Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)), and I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes out with next.

Joel Silver (producer) tends to put his name behind good action movies i.e. explosive movies with a good plot, and stays true to course with Swordfish. The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you interested from the start, and doesn’t get bogged down by useless scenes. Every scene contributes to the plot, as they should, and without even one, the movie would lag.

The dialogue varies from part to part, having some good points (the intro) and some bad points (obvious references to later in the movie). Not every one who goes to see a summer action movie is looking for deep thought, however, so the dialogue works great for this type of film.

The special effects are very well done, with everything from a nice around-the-explosion-as-it-happens type shot to an airborne bus chase! They are all very well done, and there aren’t any big mistakes. They are big on flash and bang, as these type of movies tend to be, so prepared to be awed by them. The summer movies are always looking for different ways to film something exciting, and this doesn’t disappoint.

The DVD has some nice extras, especially the alternate endings with or without commentary by the director. The theatrical trailer is there also, thankfully. They include some of the typical fare as well, including profiles on the actors and a “Making Of” featurette.

All told, Swordfish is a good summer blockbuster movie. Travolta, Jackman, and Berry turn up the excitement, and keep you pumped throughout the movie. It’s an exciting action movie, with a bit more plot than you’re used to.

For something good to rent or even own, your password is Swordfish.

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