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Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) is a dangerous but charismatic spy on a mission to steal billions of illegally horded, nearly forgotten government funds. He and his beautiful partner Ginger (Halle Berry) recruit Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman), one of the world's best computer hackers. Stanley is down on his luck, having just been released from jail and is desperate to get custody of his 8 year old daughter Holly (Camrym Grimes). But once he is sucked into Gabriel and Ginger's world, he discovers that there is more to this mission than meets the eye and he is being used as a pawn in a scheme code-named 'Swordfish' that is much bigger than he could have possibly imagined.

Reviewed by Andrew L. Urban:
The first and strongest attraction of this film is the cast mix and the attitude that they exude: Travolta’s arrogant and determined, wrong-headed moral crusader with a dashing lifestyle contrasts well with Jackman’s down to earth computer hacker cum boy next door (outdoor, that is). And Halle Berry is luscious as the sexy but mysterious man-ipulator.

As Don Cheadle remarks in the HBO doco (Making Of), this is the best game for boys and with the best toys. But it’s also a morality tale. The 15 minute doco no doubt wroks well on tv, but is (as most of these are) too padded with clips for the DVD. It’s a recurring weakness of DVD assembly, that the distributors just want to list as many extras as they can, instead of creating specific materials suitable for DVD. Like the commentaries, which of course are DVD specific.

On the Swordfish DVD, director Dominic Sena also includes the all-too rare (optional) commentary for the alternative endings. The endings are totally opposite in storyline result, although almost identical in shots. Sena’s rationale for the final choice is smart.

The inclusion of the two stars’ interviews on Rove Live is welcome (Hugh lovingly refers to Travolta as a dag) and illustrates the fact that some features add to the DVD – some don’t. The interviews add a different element to the usual DVD and shows the two stars in relaxed mode on an Australian tv show – good work. The 8 minute piece on the flying bus effects is also well worth a look. Surprisingly enough, quite a bit of the sequence was shot with a real bus dangling over real Los Angeles.

Dominic Sena’s commentary is a mix of the expected and obvious (‘this is where we …’) to the genuinely interesting; like how they shot the scene where Hugh Jackman’s Stanley had 60 seconds to hack into a high security system while a blonde in Gabriel’s employ busies herself in his lap. He explains how they had to shoot enough coverage to give the editor lots of options for the tv (and in flight) versions where she would not be seen to be doing what she does.

Published December 13, 2001

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You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia


CAST: John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle

DIRECTOR: Dominic Sena

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: December 12, 2001

Audio Commentary, The Effects in Focus, The Making of Swordfish Documentary, John Travolta & Hugh Jackman on Rove Live, Profile – Cast & Crew biographies, deleted scenes, theatrical trailer, alternate endings (with optional director's commentary) plus DVD Rom components

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