By Deane Barker on December 12, 2003

I just watched “Swordfish” on TBS. Hugh Jackman is the world’s greatest hacker, hired by John Travolta to steal $9.5 billion to finance a terror campaign against…terrorists. Or something.

As hacker movies go, it’s pretty hopeless. It contains the most unrealistic hack attempt on film: a 60-second crack of the Department of Defense from a Dell laptop in the back of a nightclub by someone who had never seen the system before. As near as I can tell, you just need to type fast and list directory contents a lot.

Also included is reference to an old PDP-10 in the basement of Cal-Tech where Jackman’s character has hidden a worm. Apparently this is the only PDP in the world with a Flash interface…but, then again, every computer in this film has a Flash interface.

The real kicker though is how the script sets up Jackman’s character to be sympathetic even though he’s a criminal. He’s on parole for hacking, but not just any hacking. No, he put a worm into Carnivore and “set the program back two years.” How can you not love the guy after hearing that?

While tracking down the IMDb link I used above, I found the single greatest user comment ever, and it pretty much sums up the film:

See Travolta smirk. See Berry’s boobs. See Jackman type.

IMDb has some great trivia:

2600 ‘The Hacker Quarterly’ magazine was approached by Warner Bros. for permission to use their magazine and name in the film. WB was suing 2600 at the time for linking to the DVD deciphering program DeCSS. The magazine said no.



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