These days, Swordfish is mostly known as the movie where Halle Berry went topless for the first time. And regrettably, it's probably the most exciting part of the movie. I've never been one for espionage thrillers, mostly because they're always exactly the same. Despite an all-star cast, Swordfish doesn't aim high, and it doesn't make sense. Are these terrorists? Are these bank robbers? Are these freedom fighters? Why did Travolta go with that hair style? When is Don Cheadle gonna do something? These are important questions.
Jackman plays Stanley, an expert hacker recently released from prison and forbidden to see his daughter. He gets recruited by Ginger (Berry), a gorgeous but poorly written tease for the real bad guy, Gabriel (Travolta). Gabriel is a terrorist leader/mob boss/government agent (???) who wants Stanley to use some hacker code to break into $9 billion worth of secure government funds. Over the course of the movie, Stanley realizes he's on the wrong side and tries to back out, but it's too late. The stakes appear high, but we're never given any confirmation that Travolta isn't completely full of shit. And the film's end tries to Prestige us with a final twist that again, doesn't make any damn sense.
Swordfish doesn't trust its audience to reach their own conclusions, so it makes those decisions for us. The dialogue is so over the top, and the hacking scenes are just so boring. I don't understand how hacking works, and even I can tell you it looks fake as hell. This one is a misfire that will never escape the early 2000's espionage thriller bubble.