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"...problems with Swordfish are the confusing nature of Berry's character and the entire estranged daughter subplot."


Rated R

Dominic Sena
Skip Woods 
John Travolta (Gabriel Shear), Hugh Jackman (Stanley Jobson), Halle Berry (Ginger), Don Cheadle (Agent A.D. Roberts), Drea De Matteo (Stanley's ex-wife), Vinnie Jones (Marco), Sam Shepard (Senator)
Running Time: 99 minutes
Released: June 22, 2001


ALTERNATE REALITY Review by Lawrence Evans
Travolta is this mystical epic character that only exists in movies and certain novels that Berry works for and he wants Jackman to do a job for him. He wants Hugh to hack into a forgotten government program called Operation: Swordfish (hence the title) and transfer the billions within to him. For this Jackman gets the princely sum of $10 million dollars and should get his daughter back as well. Travolta in the film is in his 'Broken Arrow' mode, too cool for the planet and aware of it.

Now in interviews screenwriter Skip Woods has stated that Jackman is the hero of the film and Travolta is the anti-hero which creates a big problem during the film for me and most of the viewing public. Travolta's character isn't evil; he may or may not work for the government and his cause is somewhat just. So you don't really have anyone in the film to root against unless you count the oily FBI genius that gets the hostage killed or Jackman's ex.
Other problems with Swordfish are the confusing nature of Berry's character and the entire estranged daughter subplot. Berry is DEA or she isn't. The daughter is a movie creation played by a child actress who has done this character before. The ex-wife (Drea DeMatteo) is married to a porn king but she has custody of her simply because her behavior makes us more sympathetic towards Jackman. Even though I thought Don Cheadle was great in the film he might as well just wandered in from 'Traffic' because it's the same character.

I suppose I should mention that Berry's breasts (she says she did not get more for showing them) are quite attractive and her showing them to Jackman make perfect sense because using her sexuality to get things done is part of her nebulous character.

Director Dominic Sena is still using that sepia toned film stock that he used in last year's 'Gone In 60 Seconds' but this time around it isn't as annoying. He does have a talent for action scenes, which is used for good effect here. I must also assume that ex-soccer player Vinnie Jones is part of some repertory company that Sena is forming.

Writer Skip Woods has been called the 'illegitimate son' of Shane (Lethal Weapon) Black but he hasn't developed Black's style because if Black had written it then it would have made much more sense. 

SWORDFISH 2001 Warner Brothers Pictures.
All Rights Reserved.

Review 2003 Alternate Reality, Inc.