Friday, 12 August 2011


“It’s easy to pick apart bad acting, short sighted directing and a purely moronic stringing together of words that many of the studios term as prose.” Says John Travolta in the monologue which opens Swordfish.

The trouble with Hollywood he goes on to inform us is the absence of realism which Travolta informs us is, “Not a pervasive element in today’s modern American cinematic vision.”


And if there was ever a film to remind us of this point it is Swordfish where John Travolta plays a super-criminal out to rob the US Government of $9bn dollars. Only he’s not really a super-criminal but a patriot who heads up a secret society dedicated to exacting revenge on America’s enemies.

Along the way there are such object lessons in cinema verite as the scene where Hugh Jackman’s character receives a blow job whilst hacking into US Government computers with Travolta holding a gun at his head.

Or the getaway scene where a helicopter scoops up the school bus Travolta and his team are making their escape in and lands it on the top of a skyscraper where they’ve stashed another chopper to disappear in.

Yes, you can safely file Swordfish in your film collection somewhere between your Ken Loach and Dogme films box sets.

But anyway enough on the dribbling nonsense that constitutes the plot. The climax of the film has Travolta and his assembled henchmen atop the skyscraper ready to make their escape in their backup chopper.

Vinnie Jones is dead, but not before the plot requires him to clumsily reveal that he’s brought along a rocket launcher with a moronic stringing together of words, sorry expository dialogue.

“I know what your thinking. Your thinking if that rocket launcher was a suppository would that bad man stick it up my ass?”

As Travolta and his team jump aboard the waiting helicopter Jackman hot foots it back on board the bus grabs the rocket launcher and without the any knowledge of military weaponry - realism remember - loads, fires, and successfully shoots down the chopper.

Despite being the climax of the film the explosion is underwhelming - some brief CGI - and the short sighted direction means the camera cuts away before the chopper has finished exploding.

Like Travolta all that’s left to do is wonder at the state of modern American cinema.

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