HTF REVIEW: Swordfish - guilty pleasure DVD at its best!

Ronald Epstein

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Ronald Epstein


SWORDFISH

The beginning scene of Swordfish is
absolutely brilliant. In these first moments,
we are introduced to a suave, nameless mastermind
(John Travolta), sitting seemingly by himself,
giving us a remarkable dialogue about movies and
reality. It's one of the coolest cinematic moments
in recent memory. It's at this point that the
film grabs you, pulls you in, and won't let go.
Producers Joel Silver (Lethal Weapon, Matrix)
and Jonathan D. Krane (Face/Off) manage to bring
this high-tech thriller to the screen that manages
to fool its audiance as much as its characters do.
After all, the film was not received well by the
critics. It's a less intelligently presented
thriller with all sorts of impossibilities.
However, deception runs so well with this film
that you too will be fooled into having a great
time with this movie.
John Travolta makes this movie. This is
certainly his best character since Pulp Fiction.
This is the kind of man that can charm you and
stab you in the back at the same moment. He
enlists the help of a computer hacker (Hugh
Jackman) to hack his way into Government networks
where a payoff bundle is up for the taking. At
his side is the very sexy Halle Berry. In pursuit
is Don Cheadle (Traffic, Boogie Nights) who is
one of my favorite recent character actors. It's
a pretty well-rounded cast, and the total dumbness
of this film is saved by the performance of the
actors. The film moves along at an uneven pace
throughout, but pays off with a tremendous visual
ending that involves a bus.
Chalk it up to Warner Brothers for doing yet
another outstanding transfer that ranks with
recent DVDs, Driven and Exit Wounds.
The transfer quality is top-notch. The 5.1
digital surround is also excellent, though not
overused in this film. Most of the action takes
place through the 3 front speakers.
The film also has some nice supplements. First,
there are the two alternate endings, which clearly
are not as good as the one used. You have the
choice of watching them with or without Director
commentary.
There is also a fun 15-minute HBO documentary
on the MAKING OF the film. It involves
all the principle actors. It's nice to see
Travolta step in and out of character. He really
knows how to step into characters that are so
much different than his personal self.
One supplement I urge you to watch is the
EFFECTS IN FOCUS, which takes a very
descriptive look at the final effects scene that
involves the bus. You'll see how that entire
sequence went from a computer roadmap to the
streets of Los Angeles, to a large airport hangar
and soundstage. It's one of those moments that
you sit there amazed at how much effects work
went into that film's ending sequence.
Swordfish is truly a guilty pleasure.
And, I warn you, because of its subject matter
that so closely ties in with our world's recent
terrorist events, you may feel guilty about
watching it. On the one hand, I am surprised
that Warner Brothers chose to put this out so soon.
On the other hand, I applaud the studio for
letting the public have the choice with what they
want to watch.
I reccomend this film for rental, although I
think many renters may end up purchasing. All
in all, I don't think this DVD should be passed up.
And, if I may be unprofessional for just a moment --
this film is worth watching just for Halle Berry's
beautiful breasts. Whoo-Hah!
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Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
Circa 2000
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JohnS

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I ended up loving this movie. And NOT for the two obvious reasons.
I'm BUYING this on Oct 30th!
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Robert Crawford

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Swordfish is truly a guilty pleasure.
Ronbo,
I respectfully disagree with you in classifying this film a guilty pleasure. I think it's one of the best action films released by Hollywood in the last few years, however, judging the recent releases in this genre that's really not saying much.

Crawdaddy
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JasonKrol

Supporting Actor
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Aug 19, 2001
Messages
505
after hearing sooo much about how bad driven was, I was sure Id never see it. Then I read Rons review (which developed a mightly long thread/flame war) and was convinced to at least give it a rent. And yes, it sucked. But it did live up to Rons comments that its a great demo disk.
that being said, I have been kind of excited to see Swordfish, although Ive heard similar comments about it being bad etc. I think this movie will be one that I will rent and ultimately end up buying.
Thanks for the reviews Ron!!!
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- Jason
My DVD Collection | My Home Theater
"what ya got here is two people dragging a third..."
 

stephen la

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Oct 3, 1999
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210
I think Halle Berry stole the show.. I didnt really car for her in anything before this movie.. with this movie.. she made a new fan out of me.. I forgive her for those lame lines as storm in Xmen
 

Tina_H_V

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Tina
Yes, yes, Ron, way to go!!!!!!!!!
I truly dug your review!!!! It was totally outstanding!!!!!
And the way you broke down each of the rles of the four principles was very down and to the point.
Do not worry about me renting this one: THIS SHALL BE A BAR-NONE(!) PAYDAY PICKUP!!!!!!!! THIS IS ONE I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR!!!!!!
I knew this DVD was a priority purchase from the time I saw it on my birthday back in June. I had a feeling the DVD presentation was going to be nothing less than sensational. And now, it looks like Ron has concurred my thoughts on this one. Thank you very much for that, Ron.
Oh, yes, and as for what you said about unprofessionalism Ron, do not worry: even though I am a woman myself, I also came away impressed with Miss Halle's breasts as well as all the others who did here and elsewhere!!!

And I am not ashamed to admit it!!!

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The Acid Queen Still Rocks and Souls!!!! ;D
 

Justin Lane

Effects Supervisor
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Jan 18, 2000
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From all those exclamation marks I know tina is going to be the first one in line when this disc streets

Count me in too. I have been waiting for this title, and am glad Warner decided to release it now, and not delay the film just to be PC. It sounds like a great package. It looks like the disc will have another great Warner transfer.
J
 

Keith_R

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I liked this movie ever since I saw it in June. I'm definently going to buy it when it comes out.
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-Keith-
 

Tina_H_V

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Tina
That's right, Justin!!! Not only do I promise I shall be there to get it right on October 30, 2001!!!!...
...but this shall as well be the first DVD I run through my new HT receiver--the Onkyo TX-DS797--as it is due to FINALLY come out for good next month!!!
That, along with Swordfish, I look forward to bringing in in the weeks to come!!!!!

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The Acid Queen Still Rocks and Souls!!!! ;D
 

Ronald Epstein

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Ronald Epstein
I call this a "guilty pleasure" disc because
the movie opened to critic bashing. Even
before I had this disc in my hand, I knew that
Swordfish was not well received.
If you dissect this film and take away the
action, the film has a lot of flaws, uneven
pacing, and (as I mentioned) so many
impossibilities. Take away Travolta from
this film and it would never stand on its own.
Yet, I was floored by this film because of
Travolta and the action sequences. It's a
really fun disc.
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Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
Circa 2000
Home Theater Forum Administrator
All forum questions & to get on our private forum mailing list (new members)... Email: [email protected]
Problems with the webpage or site? Contact WEBMASTER
Email Packy [email protected]
 

SteveGon

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Sounds good. I'll be renting this one, though. Looking forward to seeing Halle Berry...

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-- Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain
 

Quint van der Vaart

Second Unit
Joined
May 25, 2001
Messages
331
Thanx for the review Ron !!
I realy loved this movie.
John Travolta was way cool and the action was also very nice.
I realy liked the soundtrack of this movie especially the track that is being played with the end-credits, that was such a cool track.
Anyway I will be buying this one !!!!
It's a must-have in my opinion.
Greetz
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There is another world....The DVD WORLD !!
 

mark_d

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 4, 2000
Messages
258
This has been on pre-order for a good while now. Thanks for the reassuring review, Ron

This is the one the missus and I get something out of - she gets a topless Mr Jackman and I get...

Mark
 

mark_d

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Dec 4, 2000
Messages
258
In fact, I think my wife and I will have a little competition - see who can do the loudest PHWOAR! during the movie...
Mark
 

David Oliver

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Apr 12, 1999
Messages
327
I am buying this disk, but no just because of Halle's breast mind you. But also for Halle in nothing more than her underwear and a wire ;-)
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