To foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity of a ruthless terrorist. But the plan backfires when the same criminal impersonates the cop with the same method.
Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.
When the DEA shut down its dummy corporation operation codenamed SWORDFISH in 1986, they had generated $400 million which they let sit around; fifteen years of compound interest has swelled it to $9.5 billion. A covert counter-terrorist unit called Black Cell, headed by the duplicitious and suave Gabriel Shear, wants the money to help finance their raise-the-stakes vengeance war against international terrorism, but it's all locked away behind super-encryption. He brings in convicted hacker Stanley Jobson, who only wants to see his daughter Holly again but can't afford the legal fees, to slice into the government mainframes and get the money. Written by
Jeff Cross <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The original screenplay draft had a very different take on the Gabriel Shear character. He was first written as a mercenary whose plan for the stolen DEA funds had him joining forces with military and intelligence figures and planning to destroy corrupt politicians, and had several lengthy monologues in which U.S. agents listened to him and then joined his crusade on the spot. While the funding/covert war angle was maintained, Skip Woods later remade Gabriel Shear into a patriotic agent who seeks to destroy world terrorists, and who kills the Senator and his aide for trying to kill him and stop his plans. See more »
The bank in "Monte Carlo" at the end of the movie displays the French and European Union flags outside and in the foyer. Monte Carlo is in the Principality of Monaco a separate nation to France with its own flag. Monaco is not part of the EU. The building is in Nice, France. See more »
You know what the problem with Hollywood is? They make shit. Unbelievable, unremarkable shit. Now I'm not some grungy wannabe filmmaker that's searching for existentialism through a haze of bong smoke or something. No, it's easy to pick apart bad acting, short-sighted directing, and a purely moronic stringing together of words that many of the studios term as "prose". No, I'm talking about the lack of realism. Realism; not a pervasive element in today's modern American cinematic ...
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The last credit reads "Final Password: Vernam", which is part of the website game. (See Trivia). A Vernam cypher is a method of encrypting a message. See more »
Like a good old-fashioned action movie, but with a good plot.
Swordfish was one of my anxiously awaited summer flicks. And after seeing it a couple hours ago, I am not at all disappointed. It's been awhile since I've seen a truly enjoyable, mature action movie. With the slew of PG-13 action movies of recent years, it's refreshing to see one that at least acknowledges that many intense situations do involve language, sex, and mixed character reactions - it wasn't just another black and white, good and bad movie where the good guy does only good things and the bad guy has only evil intentions. The good guy (Jackman) didn't always do the right thing, and the bad guy (Travolta) could hardly be accused of sinister motives.
The film starts off with a bang ... literally. A big-time action sequence to get out attention, then a flashback to show how the climax of the film came to pass. The out-of-order editing was actually effective and interesting, rather than seeming like yet another failed attempt to mimic Pulp Fiction and those other movies that brought attention to the idea of showing a film out of chronological order.
Jackman was great as computer hacker Stanley Jobson, devoted father who just happened to get brought down for computer-related felonies after hacking into and making public an FBI e-mail surveillance operation. Forbidden to even touch a computer for the rest of his days, he is lured back into the life by Travolta, who offers him $100,000 just to meet him (and take an interesting version of an initiation). Jackman is quickly becoming Hollywood A-list material, and with his performance in Swordfish, it's easy to see why. He can keep up with the smooth-talking, fast-moving Travolta as well as show enough emotion to make him seem like a real person and not just a run-of-the-mill action hero.
The plot of the film is fantastic. It's not just a typical heist film, or action plot where the hero has to save the hostages, blowing the hell out of the bad guys in the process. The plot is complex, interwoven, and has a point. The plot was crucial to keeping interest during the slow parts of the film. Starting out with an action sequence carries the danger of losing audience interest if not followed up by more and more action. Thankfully, the plot manages to retain interest during those points in the film where things aren't exploding and buses aren't flying through metropolitan airspace, suspended from a heavy loading chopper.
The best part about this film was the interractions between the characters. Stanley is a smart guy, and Gabriel's smarter. Just when Stanley (and the audience) thinks they have Gabriel in a tight spot, he'll surprise everyone with some improvised ingenuity. There are so many films in the action genre that result to dumbing down the smart villains, just so the hero of the story will look good when he comes up with a relatively weak solution to the complex plot. The villains often slip up or make some kind of fatal faux pas in judgment that allows the hero to triumph. There's none of that here. The hero and villain are both smart, and both stay that way until the very end.
This is a great summer movie. See it. See it twice or three times, even. If you're looking for high art or something that really speaks to you and changes the way you see the world, don't see it. But if you want to see a movie for the sake of entertainment and having a good time, Swordfish is the movie to go to. If Swordfish is any indication of the rest of this summer's big action blockbusters, we're certainly in good shape this year.
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