It has gotten generally acknowledged for over a decade that Swordfish is a lousy movie, so it may surprise you to learn its a guilty pleasure of a film I enjoy a little. Admittedly, Swordfish’s narrative is a VERY thinly disguised violent male sex fantasy, with not much in the way of redeeming value, and a poor man’s attempt to imitate the success of a Tarantino 90’s action film.
While its true that John Travolta’s attempt at portraying (for which he won the Razzie that year for the worst performance of 2001) of bad-ass, uber-cool, anti-hero Gabriel Shear is laughable (when close-ups of his face are not busy making your skin crawl.) Add to this Halle Berry’s performance as the enigmatic Ginger, and its almost as if the creators of that seventies comedy series, Laugh-In are having a little joke with the film’s intended audience. Seriously, Berry’s performance is not only sadly amusing when she attempts to act seductively hot, but she sets back the feminist cause by a good fifty years, and the gratuitous shots of Berry’s bare breasts were not worth the price of admission.
I enjoy watching this film because between a poorly written screenplay and multiple poor performances, it’s a missed opportunity for what could have been a great cyberpunk/spy-fi movie with a classic anti-hero for chief protagonist a sort of anti-James Bond, and the time is ripe for character like that to make an arrival on the genre movie scene. I’m completely serious, I see a lot of potential here, and it could quickly become a much-loved action/adventure/mystery/cyberpunk franchise all over the world.
For whatever the reason, this film’s creators decided to stick with the corniest narrative yarn they could spin here, and Hugh Jackman once again gets to prove what a perfect edging-on-middle-age-dad with a past he can be. The subplot to save his daughter is this movie’s attempt to show its story has some heart, and it does work to a degree, but the film’s flaws are too noticeable for any subtle or overt distraction to draw the viewers attention away from the bad dialogue and acting taking place on the screen.
Of course, anyone expecting perfection in every movie that is released is living in a fantasy world, the films I love do not always agree with the most popular opinions, but sometimes there’s a kernel of something there I like that makes it okay. Movies are like friends; we know they are not perfect and flawed in some ways, but we love them anyway.