Can you hack while getting a blow job?
Swordfish disses the Torvalds name
Swordfish is a really terrible film. If you've seen the posters promising a tale of hacking and cyber crime, alarm bells should have been ringing. If you've been aware of pre-publicity that Halle Berry flashes her tits then you should know its time to evacuate the building.
If they have to hang the publicity on a cheap thrill, then you know the film has got nothing else going for it.
Hacking films are generally crap. This one is the crappest. The film makers fail to get round the problem of how dull it is to watch people type, and fail to explain that even though the bank robbing hack is successful - everybody still has to pile down to the bank in person to really get the money and have a good shoot'em, up.
The hacker hero is played by X-Men star Hugh Jackman. He looks like a young Clint Eastwood, and even gets to wear a Dirty Harry style brown suit at one point. But most of the time he wears a dirty t-shirt to show his hacker authenticity.
He's brought in after a Finnish hacker, originally lined up for the bank job by John Travolta, is killed. The Finnish hackers' name was Axel Torvalds.
That was just one example of the script chucking in tech buzzwords and names. Jackman's character had been in prison for setting back the FBI's Carnivore project with his super worm. He did it to protect the email of god fearing US citizens. He's banned from using a computer at the start of the film (a bit like Kevin Mitnick), but to help get custody of his daughter he agrees to help master baddy John Travolta rob the bank. His back story tells you he's one honourable man.
On their first meeting Travolta tests Jackman by getting him to hack a system while having a gun pressed against his temple and getting a blow job. He doesn't quite make it but is pretty close. How did he do it? He just kinda visualises the code, which is presumably the method he uses to stop himself shooting off too quickly.
That was one way the film makers tried to make typing exciting. 'Access denied' kept flashing across the screen as the seconds flipped by.
In another scene Jackman almost creams himself (obviously not visualising some code) when he's presented with a system which has seven flat panel displays. He then drinks some expensive wine and boogies in his chair while doing his major hack.
The script drops in a few bits of jargon: worms, hydras, firewalls, encryption key lengths, which won't mean anything to most viewers, and sound bollocks to those in the know.
Swordfish's plot is stupid, which needn't matter, but the director manages to make the action sequences boring and pointless. The only upside is that Travolta is pretty good.
Oh, and Vinnie Jones balls up his one chance to speak like he did in Gone in 60 Seconds.
Swordfish goes on general release in the UK on Friday. ®
Sponsored: The Nuts and Bolts of Ransomware in 2016