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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Fighting Fire With Fire

Swordfish on IMDb

Plot Overview

boy and girl on computerAn organization called the Black Cell was started by J. Edgar Hoover in the 1950s to combat inter­national terrorism. It is currently being run by Virginia Senator James Reisman (Sam Shepard,) chair­man of the Joint Commission on Crime. He has brought on board a loose cannon named Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) whose immediate goal is to tap into a slush fund left in limbo by the DEA when it shut down its dummy corporation operation code­named SWORD­FISH in 1986. Gabriel employs seductress Ginger Knowles (Halle Berry) to entice convicted hacker Stanley “Stan” Jobson (Hugh Jackman) to violate the terms of his release and hack into the banking network from inside WorldBanc that they plan to breach.

Kaboom!You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. The Sisyphean task of combating terrorism, an idea that will only sprout up again, rather than an army subject to defeat means that all is fair on this field of battle. Gabriel's methods are too heavy-handed and his approach too accepting of collateral damage for Stan's peace of mind, but they have him over a barrel, holding captive his young daughter Holly (Camryn Grimes.) There's a lot of posturing that takes place here, replete with multiple phallic symbols, as if the whole show is about whose is bigger. Whatever.


Nostradamus pictureGabriel's “job is to make terrorism so horrific that it becomes unthinkable to attack Americans.” To guard their freedom, he's to terrorize the terrorists analogous to the way Moses terrorized the Egyptians in order to set his people free. Gabriel's role model is magician Harry Houdini who through misdirection could “make an elephant disappear in the middle of a theater filled with people.” Moses like­wise confounded the magic of Egyptian sorcerers.

The icon of his war on terrorism was circumscribing all the bank hostages by wrapping them in blankets of explosives to show that he meant business. Moses had every male Israelite circumcised as a sign that they belonged to God who was the one in charge there. (Jasher 78:7-10) “In those days Moses, the son of Amram, in Midian, took Zipporah, the daughter of Reuel the Midianite, for a wife. And Zipporah walked in the ways of the daughters of Jacob, she was nothing short of the righteousness of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. And Zipporah conceived and bare a son and he called his name Gershom, for he said, I was a stranger in a foreign land; but he circumcised not his foreskin, at the command of Reuel his father-in-law. And she conceived again and bare a son, but circumcised his foreskin, and called his name Eliezer, for Moses said, Because the God of my fathers was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”

Then things got kind of dicey for the man of God setting upon a holy mission. (Jasher 79:7-12) “And Moses hearkened to all that the Lord had commanded him, and he returned to his father-in-law and told him the thing, and Reuel said to him, Go in peace. And Moses rose up to go to Egypt, and he took his wife and sons with him, and he was at an inn in the road, and an angel of God came down, and sought an occasion against him. And he wished to kill him on account of his first born son, because he had not circumcised him, and had trans­gressed the covenant which the Lord had made with Abraham. For Moses had hearkened to the words of his father-in-law which he had spoken to him, not to circumcise his first born son, there­fore he circumcised him not. And Zipporah saw the angel of the Lord seeking an occasion against Moses, and she knew that this thing was owing to his not having circumcised her son Gershom. And Zipporah hastened and took of the sharp rock stones that were there, and she circumcised her son, and delivered her husband and her son from the hand of the angel of the Lord.”

A summary account of this incident with Moses is given in (Exodus 4:24-26.) “And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the fore­skin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.” Eventually in our movie there's a chance for a squeamish Stan to pick up a rocket launcher and missile to make his own mark for the cause.

Production Values

” (2001) was directed by Dominic Sena. Its screenplay was written by Skip Woods. It stars John Travolta, Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry. The actors did pretty well with what they had to work with. Travolta manages but doesn't excel. Jackman as a set-upon former hacker came across as a real character. Berry as a go-to girl with hidden reserves under the hood is full of surprises.

MPAA rated it R for violence, language and some sexuality/nudity. There's an explosive dramatic prelude that was captured using 135 synchronized still cameras. There's an alternate—#1—ending for those who think this morality tale shouldn't have rewarded the bad player. It would be easy to switch in.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This movie is nothing if not intense. It's a nail-biter what the protagonist plans to get away with, but played against terrorists who routinely have their own way too much. The action doesn't hold any­thing back. The hacker is a loving father caught between a rock and a hard place. This one is more of a rush than easy viewing.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Amazing special effects. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

The Book of Jasher. Trans­lated from the Hebrew into English (1840). Photo litho­graphic reprint of exact edition published by J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887. Muskogee, OK: Artisan Pub., 1988. Print. Web.