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SWORDFISH

SYNOPSIS:
Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) is a dangerous but charismatic spy on a mission to steal billions of illegally horded, nearly forgotten government funds. He and his beautiful partner Ginger (Halle Berry) recruit Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman), one of the world's best computer hackers. Stanley is down on his luck, having just been released from jail and is desperate to get custody of his 8 year old daughter Holly (Camrym Grimes). But once he is sucked into Gabriel and Ginger's world, he discovers that there is more to this mission than meets the eye and he is being used as a pawn in a scheme code-named 'Swordfish' that is much bigger than he could have possibly imagined.

With its heart-pumping action and spectacular stunts, Swordfish is an exciting thriller that dazzles with its mind-stretching ideas and concepts. Deftly structured and engineering superb anticipation, the film takes us into a bizarre world of extremes, where nothing is really as it seems. Dominic Sena's direction injects flair and pace into the mix, with the violence and stunts offering a touch of the theatrical: this is escapist entertainment in full flight. Hollywood seems to have already noticed that Hugh Jackman looks good without his shirt – we not only get to admire his pecs here (as in Someone Like You, with Ashley Judd), but watch him swing a pretty mean golf club clad in nought but a skimpy towel. When Halle Berry sidles up to him in a skin-tight red mini dress, wiggles and subsequently swings, the devil has never looked so good. She continues to look sensational in all shades of undress… but enough about appearances. Jackman is superb as Stanley; he has the charisma, the range and delivers on all counts. There's nothing like a deadline to give an adrenalin rush for the hacker whose dog is called Judas. Berry is much more than decorative in her wardrobe to thrill; she is seriously sexy and enigmatic. As for John Travolta, he is fabulous as the most un-angelic Gabriel you could ever meet; his Pulp Fiction-referenced character bristling with callousness and reeking of sensuality of the most dangerous kind. Not surprising that he orders a triple espresso as par for the course! A sharp script with wry lines, a hip soundtrack, great settings and stunts guaranteed to take your breath away. The car chase sequence is awesome, and for those who are interested, the car is an exclusive British sports car called a TVR that was imported especially for the production. Plus there's the amazing stunt in which a full size bus is flown through downtown LA and dumped on a rooftop. With enough stunts to stun, Swordfish dishes up surprises at every turn; it's a serious ride on the wild side.
Louise Keller

The first and strongest attraction of this film is the cast mix and the attitude that they exude: Travolta’s arrogant and determined, wrong-headed moral crusader with a dashing lifestyle contrasts well with Jackman’s down to earth computer hacker cum boy next door (outdoor, that is). And Halle Berry is luscious as the sexy but mysterious man-ipulator. Plus there is the novelty of the opening sequences, in which the computer hacker Stanley is given a hard task: hack into the world’s most secure USA government computer not with just a gun at your head but a pair of lips as well. (You can figure it out later.) Jackman easily impresses as a leading good guy, and his chemistry with both Berry and Travolta works to good effect. The action plot is nothing flash, nor fresh, but it’s well executed in technical terms, including some major stunts, car chases and big bangs. But there is a flaw in the concept and its execution about the ending, and some of the film suffers from carelessness in small but vital details. In the context of what it set out to achieve, the film succeeds reasonably well, although I don’t think the Gabriel character was ever really worked out to its required potential. Nor is the motivational set up for Stanley (broken relationship, little daughter) credible; we don’t buy Stanley having had a relationship with the girl’s booze and drug addled mother. Not because it isn’t possible, but there is no information to work with. This is true of the perfunctory nature of the most of the characterisations; but for action thrillseekers with a Saturday night to spare, this is all you might want.
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

See our Visionstream INTERVIEW with Hugh Jackman

SWORDFISH (MA)
(US)

CAST: John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle

DIRECTOR: Dominic Sena

PRODUCER: Jonathan D. Krane, Joel Silver, Paul Winze

SCRIPT: Skip Woods

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Paul Cameron

EDITOR: Stephen E. Rivkin

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jeff Mann

MUSIC: Madonna (song "What It Feels Like For a Girl"), Paul Oakenfold, Christopher Young

RUNNING TIME: TBA

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 28, 2001







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