"You know what the problem with Hollywood is? They make shit."

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * · · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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There aren't that many popcorn movies left that are worth anything. I get verbally assaulted every time I insult Armageddon and The Rock by people who think I am too much of a snob to enjoy a "fun" movie. These people just don't realize that most of these movies break my number one rule. Don't treat me like an idiot. Swordfish isn't the best movie ever made. It isn't probably in the top 100 action movies of all time. But it was entertaining and what I would define as a pretty good popcorn movie.

No one is winning any academy awards over this one. The acting is quite a bit over the top and there are a fair share of subplots. There are twisty and turny events that keep you thinking, and the typical Agatha Christy trend of killing someone right when a major clue is given to throw off suspicion. There are lots of explosions and bullets and special effects and breasts. There is even a relatively comprehensible plot that seems to make sense.

Of course there are computers. I hate movies about hackers. No computer was ever put in a movie that made any sense to anyone who knows anything about computers. I always thought that smart hackers would go after the human element. Have 512 bit encryption on a server? Put a gun to the server administrator's head and a stack of cash in his hand and see how fast he will let you in. Can't break that cypher encrypted password? Look around the desk for sticky notes of all the users. Not that many people can be that smart, some dumb fuck wrote it somewhere. Unfortunately, swordfish takes the gimicky way of a big fancy multi-headed computer and some trendy thin guy making all sorts of idiotic remarks about "hydra worms" and "super encryption". Once again, if you are going to make a movie about hackers, put it far enough in the future that even computer people won't have a clue what you are saying.

The DVD presentation of Swordfish is pretty good. The 2.35 to 1 16x9 enhanced picture has a lot of green and yellow tints to it, but is still very clear. There is a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack but no DTS and no commentary. I am very glad to see 16x9 enhancement and 5.1 channel sound is becoming mainstream, but it is time that DTS and commentaries were standard as well. This is what DVD is all about.

While Swordfish is far from what I would call a great movie, it wasn't so bad that I turned it off and cursed the day I heard the name. It isn't Die Hard, Desperado or The Matrix, but it isn't Reindeer Games either. Popcorn action for the masses.