Films made about computers and their impact on our society fall into two categories: hit or miss. Hackers is the latter.
Reviewed by Eli Kooris, Fri., Feb. 23, 2001
D: Iain Softley (1995); with Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, Fisher Stevens, Lorraine Bracco, Matthew Lillard.
Films made about computers and their impact on our society fall into two categories: hit or miss. 1983's War Games and, most recently, The Matrix gave the world of technology an entertaining and surprisingly hip slant. However, horrendous efforts like The Lawnmower Man and The Net prove that a storyline that includes sitting on your ass and staring at a computer screen is just a few notches above watching paint dry. Hackers, Softley's attempt at showing the nitty-gritty lives of computer geniuses who wield their talents for the good of the common man, falls into the "miss" category. Miller plays Dade Murphy, a high school senior with a criminal record for hacking into government files when he was just a child. He soon teams up with Kate Libby (Jolie), yet another stunningly beautiful computer whiz with a taste for mischief. These two have quite incredible bodies for kids who spend the majority of their free time drumming away on a keyboard. And while this may have been a launching pad for the careers of Miller and Jolie (and their ill-fated marriage), it was a crash site for others. Stevens plays Eugene "the Plague" Belford, the head of computer security, who threatens to sink oil tankers around the world unless his company coughs up 25 million dollars. He then proceeds to frame the hackers. Terrible lines and ridiculous wardrobes (a tight, white motorcycle uniform looks bad even on Jolie) follow and even the animated effects between scenes gets monotonous. Stevens' performance is reminiscent of a villain on a low-budget after-school special: conniving, evil, and completely unbelievable. Bracco deadpans every ridiculous line Rafael Moreu (also wanted for last year's atrocity The Rage: Carrie 2) wrote for her, seemingly embarrassed to even be on the set. In fact, the most entertaining part of the film is during the last two minutes when Murphy and Libby have a short but steamy make-out scene in a swimming pool. So much teenage sexual tension has built up by that point that you may just want to say "Screw Hackers!" and search for porn on the Internet. Hell, at least the filmmaking will be better.