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|Index||213 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is BAD. There is no getting around the fact that this movie
is grossly inaccurate, inconsistent and generally poorly made. The plot
is contrived, overused and generic. A group of young hackers create
some trouble until they find out about an evil plot. Then it becomes a
bad action, romance hybrid... with outdated computers... that never
Indeed, the movie hackers breaks at least two dozen fundamental pieces of computer knowledge that anybody even moderately trained could catch. Most of these somehow involve over the top dramatic camera angles and cut-away. The script moves in a kind of jumpy staccato shuffle, with the occasional inconsistency or absurdity making you jump for a moment. For instance, while finding the infamous hosts of the show "hack the planet" (which manages to crack into the TV station every week at a predictable time and stay on air for half an hour with a live feed) They are held at gun-point by a robotic arm! Once the hosts (Annoying twins) find out that they are allies, they show their secret, it was a squirt gun! Oh you hackers, what a waste of two hours that was!
I worked on this movie when I was just starting out in film post production. At the time I couldn't understand why we weren't using proper computer graphics and UI design during the sequences where the kids are hacking into computers. However, after a recent viewing on TV I realised what the director was aiming at - nothing dates faster than computer technology and its visual representation, it's just part of the way that it works. Softley went for a deliberately abstract depiction of the technology in order to give the film some relevance to audiences that might have be years into the future. There's no way that anyone in 1994/5 could have predicted how the internet would evolve or how UI design would progress - the creatively lead look of the hacking sequences in this film still work today because Softley chose to avoid sticking netscape logos all over it. If you think I'm talking nonsense then take a look at the email moments in "the Net" or "Mission: Impossible" and you'll see what I mean - embarrassing!
I remember watching Hackers on television and possibly on video when I
was younger and being somewhat impressed. Not from the actual film
itself, but from the fact that Hollywood would take the sidekicks of
every other "action" film and give them their own film. It was
refreshing, even if the overall feature did not settle well. It showed
that Hollywood was willing to take a step forward in the world of
creativity, and for a few films it brooded well. Now in 2005, I watch
this film again, and am completely devastated by the results. Now, when
I watch this film, I see clichéd characters, an uninvolved plot,
complete disregard for the law, and extremely cheap computer graphics,
which heavily stamped a date on this feature. Is this what hacking is
all about? Is hacking about fighting evil hackers with virus', about
growing out-dated over time, and about finding that one Goth girl that
has a boyfriend and making her your own? That is what Hackers
demonstrated to me, so why shouldn't I believe it?
Director Ian Softley really went outside of his tent when creating this film. Going from the feature Backbeat, about music's cultural icons, to this just doesn't well compute. He had this great opportunity to bring an unknown culture into a mainstream light, but instead he teeny-bopped it out of reality. He transforms these unsociable, outcast geniuses into superheroes, armed with nothing more than keyboards, high libidos, teen music, and an overabundance of clichés. If I were a member of the hacker community I would be outraged about this film. It is like making a movie about Superman wearing a Batman costume, two different cultures were intertwining incorrectly and nobody was there to stop it. We needed The Matrix, but all we got was American Pie. To help remedy this situation, we needed three distinct changes. We needed stronger actors to accompany their characters, a tighter story that dove deeper into the hacker culture, and we needed stronger CGI, which wouldn't date this early 90s film.
Jonny Lee Miller was decent, Angelina carried her own, Jesse Bradford was wasted, but overall the most hurtful part of these characters was that they never quite "gelled" together. I never quite saw these main characters working together after this. I never saw them remaining friends or pursuing their computer degrees further. We opened with only enough information for us to feel sympathy for Miller and literally left with no care in the world what would happen to these characters after the credit sequence. This is not strong film-making. I like to end films with a sensation that life outside the camera will continue in a linear course, but with Hackers that sensation never erupted. I think some of this has to do with Matthew Lillard who just floundered his performance (almost to the clichéd "T") and decayed nearly every scene he was involved with. The only attribute he was able to succeed with was annoying, and I don't think that is what Softley was shooting for. These characters were painful to watch and thankfully were able to rebound after this film, sans Matthew Lillard.
The story. Without detailing too much, the story was unoriginal. It felt as if we took a general action film, erased the main heroes, and instead substituted this band of hipster hackers as our heroines. Which means, a very clichéd story equipped with our very own over-acting villain, "The Plague". What was his role in this film outside of telling Penn Jillette what to do, and sleeping with Lorraine Bracco? His spoken words were hideous and painful to the ear, coupled with his one-dimensional character really left us with a villain that never quite covered the "evil" ground. Neither him nor Bracco felt "evil". Instead, from the moment we met them we knew what would be their fate. There was nothing that Softley could have done to avoid this outside of making better casting decisions, a stronger story, and a decent climax.
Finally, I would like to say that this film felt like the mid-90s. No matter how you look at it, the choice for graphics in this film completely dates the picture. If you think you are going to gather up your computer friends for a rousing night of micro-brews and this feature, you will find yourself definitely alone by the end of the evening. Softley's use of random letters, images, and computer-enhanced something-or-others, didn't even feel like computers. I remember playing computer games back in the 80s that made more sense than this. I felt cheapened after seeing these terminally poor graphics and wondered if this film was used to push computer companies into a better era. Either way, Softley's CGI use in this film was hysterically bad, causing a ripple of cheapness to cascade through this film.
Overall, I wasn't happy with my future viewing of this film. Perhaps I should have left this film go in the 90s, but watching it today I felt cheap and robbed. Softley's inaccurate portrayal of this hacker culture only brewed a deeper dislike of Hollywood and their ability to capitalize on this unknown world. The cast was atrocious (Matthew Lillard), the story can be seen in dozens of other action-genre films, and the central focus of this film, the computer graphics, were apparently designed by Wal-Mart. Hackers is a disgraceful mess of a film that should be locked in the film vault never to be released again.
Grade: * out of *****
I really can't stand this film. The art direction and vision is intense
and well carried out. Moments of photography are also impressive and
moving. However, juxtaposed with such terrible writing, terrible fact
problems you just can't ignore, over the top acting, and for the most
part entirely unbelievable characters, this film goes down as one of
the worst of the 90's. It's good looks don't make up for it's poor
I can't possible understand what statement the director was making when he decided to have the villain ride around on a skateboard. Nor can I forgive the writer for completely senseless, incomprehensible and random computer jargon. To its defense, Hackers is entertaining pulp, which is sometimes enough - but this movie seems to exploit your need for entertainment and leaves you feeling cheated. I give it a 2/10.
Even allowing for it's age, this film is basically a clunker.
The plot is ridiculous, the script is dreadful, the acting dire and the special effects are laughable.
Anyone who knows anything about computers will cringe at lines like "the new RISC architecture will change everything." "yeah, RISC is cool." or "it has a 28 point 8 bps modem" (even when 28.8 modems were state of the art, who called them 28 point 8 BPS modems?)
If you are teenage boy and a fleeting glimpse of Angelina Jolie's nipples is the most exciting thing you can think of, watch this movie. Otherwise look elsewhere for your evening's entertainment.
Pure and simple, as a computer nerd this movie is crap.
It is totally 100% unbelievable, thats about it. It plays on every single hacker stereotype that exists and it makes up laws of technology.
"HEY! I bet I can guess the password to the FBI in 3 tries! I bet it's sex secret or god!"
Thats the level of technology they expect us to believe the FBI uses.
They ALSO expect us to believe that the FBI keeps its top secret files ONLINE in the first place!!
Crap, all the way through, plain and simple.
I guess my main problem with this film is that I'm not 11 years old.
If I was 11, then I PROBABLY wouldn't notice how dreadful the script is (though even at that tender age I'd have my suspicions). I probably might not realize how little this film has to do with computers (though in this computer-literate day and age that is rather unlikely), and I'd be too young to have seen each and every situation and character depicted in this film in about 3,404,983 previous films.
The film DOES have some saving graces. The depiction of viruses is so ridiculous that it's funny, and the image of the inside of a mainframe as something resembling the NYC skyline at night is trippy, although it's just too bizarre for words. I also enjoy the villains having a good squirm at the thought of being forever associated with this dreadful little film.
It's also inspiring to see that actors CAN rise over these "strictly-from-hunger" exercises and finally wind up in decent movies. per asper ad astra, and all that.
If you DO hire this film, do something for intelligence and culture. Make a mobile out of the tape, you'll be doing something for humanity.
This was so unbelievably crap, it ought to be locked up like Kevin Mitnick
(Sorry Kev - didn't mean it like that).
I realize it wasn't meant to be a realistic attempt at portraying hacker culture - as is the standard defense given for this atrocity - and I'm sure the director realised that a realistic portrayal of hacking would result in pure tedium - (although, that begs the questions...why call it hackers, and have a storyline about hackers, and feature computer hacking as a centrepiece in the film...but I digress). I'm not a hacker, but in their defence, this sludge makes them look like complete prats. But I'm assuming that it's unintentional..maybe the director hates hackers altogether..it's hard to tell. And the CLICHES...uurrgh...so all hackers drink Jolt, carry skateboards and love Underworld/Leftfield et al. It was like watching what your parents would think hackers were like, or the result of some corporate focus group's demographic study, or worse, Billy 'CyberPUnk' Idol's idea of what Hackers are all about, transferred to celluloid.
One day, someone will make a decent flick about computer-culture... In the meantime, just remember, the way to a womans heart is to look at their computers and say 'it's got a great refresh rate'.
as with most films ive seen- ive read the book first. Hackers was brillantly made as was the book written they compliment each other well, true it differs slightly but then again reading and watching promote two different understandings, illiterates have to be able to get out of the film what the book offers but have it spelt out in a basic happy way, bookworms have to be able to 'read between the lines' and get all the writers input. comparing one against the other i would have to admit for once the film does the book a hell of alot of justice. even the soundtrack which is good doesnt bring down or make the movie (see my comment on the matrix) it compliments it. True most people know Johnny Lee Miller as Sick boy, but still b films are always worth a try in fact all the hype could of quite possibly suffocated this innocent beauty (perhaps a bit romeo and juliet romance). The computer talk may confuse some but the story line is obvious. Every little character gives this film that touch, i have and will continue to watch Hackers continuously, and one day i hope it will be recognised as an all time classic.
First of all, this was a sad attempt at a movie! There was particularly no plot! And if you Do want a good techno-movie, try something like Goldeneye or Tomorow Never Dies. And if Razor and Blade have hacked the media at 10:00 every night, shouldn't someone have caught them? Aye... MGM/UA had a miracle happen to make this flick not as big a loss as Cutthroat Island.
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