The swordfish Xiphias gladius is a fast swimming fish, swimming up to 60 miles per hour. It is found worldwide in all tropical, subtropical, and temperate seas. It is a large fish naturally, but overfishing in many areas has led to the decline in size of the swordfish. In the 1960s, the average swordfish caught in the North Atlantic region averaged 250 pounds. Today the average fish in that area is only 90 pounds. 58% of the swordfish caught are juveniles, which means they haven't had a chance to reproduce yet. The swordfish is heavily fished commercially, due to the great demand for swordfish steaks, and also recreationally, as swordfish are known as great fighters, sometimes taking up to 4 hours to be landed.

The swordfish is a beautiful fish, with a metallic grey/blue body above, fading to whitish yellow below. The upper jaw is elongated, forming the flat sword. This fish uses this sword for feeding at times, slashing its way through a school of fish, then returning to feed on the dead and wounded fish. They are carnivorous, eating smaller fish and squid. The average swordfish is about 4 feet long, but they can reach lengths of over 15 feet. The heaviest swordfish ever reported weighed over 1000 pounds, but most are around 100-200 pounds. They are believed to live 9 years, and reach sexual maturity at 4 years. When Reproducing, the female releases tens of millions of eggs and fertilization is external. A ripe female harpooned off of California was found to be carrying over 50 million eggs.

Here's my review of the movie Swordfish, as I sent it to the Internet Movie Database. (Yes, it took this long to get the movie here. I wonder what took them so long. *wink*)

Joel Silver has produced amazing movies. Let's see: "The Matrix" was a definitive philosophical action sci-fi movie, "Romeo Must Die" was a more than decent kung fu movie...

...and now he's producing, along other production people of the company, a truly ambitious project: Can this movie dethrone the 1995 movie "Hackers" as the turkey B-movie of techno-thrillers?

Unluckily, it doesn't. In this movie, they tried too hard to be good.

I heard of the movie some time ago and my immediate thoughts when seeing the poster was "God, this is the cheesiest slogan... ever. This thing is going to stink. Therefore, I have to see this." My today's trip to the movie theater was prophetic indeed: Row 6, Seat 6, and the movie started at 6 o'clock. When I was going there I noticed John Travolta's name on the poster. Ewwwww. Get the star of "Battlefield Earth" to the movie and hitting the rock bottom is a weekend seminar.

It was particularly ironic that Shear, Travolta's sinister character, starts the movie by talking how Hollywood movies suck because they have no realism. This particular movie, for example, does have serious holes in its realism.

Computers, programming and security intrusion in the movie have nothing whatsoever to do with reality. (In case you question my competence: I'm a computer geek. I know unrealistic computer-related scenario when I see one.) They sling technobabble around to make them look competent. In the beginning, the "Finnish" computer expert just mumbles something incomprehensible. (In case you question my competence: I ought to know my mother tongue.)

So far, so good. "Hackers" is threatened and scared to death. But they made serious mistakes and fell short...

The action scenes are more frequent and look pretty cool. "Hackers" had much less action. (Then again, the Movie Operating System things in Hackers looked vastly cooler than they did in this movie. But on that front, this movie wins because of more frequent use of technical-looking terms and numbers on weird places.) This Stanley cracker fellow, under pressure, slips something about cracking computer systems that actually works in real life. This destroys their attempt at dethroning Hackers. I reluctantly gave it a 4.

Ugh. I think I'm, after all this, glad Joel Silver could only contribute one bullet time effect to the movie...

Okay, so much for an official review... More details: They did try very hard to add "references to real life" to the movie, just like in Hackers... The MovieOS virus thing stored on PDP-11 in some university's basement? They mentioned Carnivore? A Finnish computer guy called Torvalds (though a bad guy this time)?

Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber

Probably the last biplane in serious military service, the Swordfish was designed in the early 1930s and stayed in production until 1943; it was not finally taken out of service with the RAF and Royal Navy until after the end of the war in Europe. Despite its apparent obsolescence - an open cockpit, frame and fabric construction, fixed undercarriage biplane with a top speed of a less than staggering 140 knots - it proved very successful in harsh conditions and carrier-borne operations due to its very forgiving handling characteristics; it was responsible for sinking more ships than any other torpedo bomber flown by the Allies during World War II. The undercarriage could be exchanged for floats and this version was flown as a spotter plane from battleships and cruisers; the wheeled version could also be used for minelaying or as a dive bomber. The fabric construction had some advantages against anti-aircraft fire (explosive cannon shells often went right through without exploding) but it was a sitting duck if it encountered fighter cover.

The "Stringbag" played a major role as a carrier strike aircraft in the early part of the war in the Norwegian campaign, during the sinking of the Bismarck and the successful strike on the Italian fleet at anchor at Taranto (which may have helped inspire the Pearl Harbour attack), as well as the less glorious attack on the French fleet at Mers-El-Kebir; it was however spectacularly unsuccessful flying from land bases during the Channel Dash by the Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen, and from then on was mainly used for less spectacular but vital work on convoy escort carriers, carrying rockets for anti-submarine duties.

With a bit of help from

Swordfish (2001)

John Travolta
Halle Berry
Hugh Jackman
Don Cheadle
Vinnie Jones
and others...

Directed by: Dominic Sena

OK, there are a few things you need to note first, before reading this review. Firstly, yes, I see there are reviews above of this movie. However, I felt strongly about writing my own one, and, plus, its for The Quest, so there... Also, you should know that the official movie tagline is:

Log on. Hack in. Go anywhere. Steal everything.

Please also note that the movie is directed by Dominic Senna. He directed Gone in Sixty Seconds. Have you seen that movie? OK, then let's begin...

Basic Plot
There is some money in some bank accounts. Some people know how to steal it. However, they need some clever hacker to write a clever worm to transfer the money into their bank account. They have to convince him and think it will be easy, cause he is down on his luck, needs money. He turns out to be strong, independent and he has morals. There are cops chasing them. Also: Who are these people, anyway? This is all you need to know, friends. Really. Did I mention the hacker turns out to be clever?

Cinematography and effects

Opening scene involves shrapnel and some groovy bombs strapped to hostages. Best part of the movie, IMHO. What is it about Hollywood that they can come up with some seriously inventive weapons of destruction, but they can't master their own damn art of putting a decent film together? Anyway, tangents. So the effects are not bad. The cinematography is stock standard action movie stuff. Nothing to write home about. There is a TVR if you are into cars. Some Hummers, loads of guns. There are some notably bad special effects as well. Some badly done CG stuff where the colours dont look quite right. There is also a helicopter scene involving a Skycrane and a bus. Cool...


John Travolta is like a stripper. He really is not afraid to show you what he is made of. He will take you on a journey through Battlefield Earth because he believes in Xemu, or whatever that thing is called. He believes he can really act, so damnit, he will make you watch it. Actually, he is not bad in this movie. However, I feel kind of bad watching him act these days. He had 2 chances to be cool: Flash Dance/Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction. (OK, Grease too). He was OK in Face/Off, but its kind of like watching Mohammad Ali fight Mike Tyson today. You know that once there was a chance, but now you'd rather not watch. And Hugh Jackman, he rocked as Wolverine, but by God, can't Xavier keep him indoors, please. Notably bad acting on his part. He comes across a bit like Greg Kinnear's helpless gay character in As Good as It Gets. Only difference is, Kinnear was _supposed_ to come across like that in the movie. And, I hate admitting this (because its a damn Hollywood studio ploy), but I have to say that Halle Berry looked about as attractive as a woman can be in this movie. Sweet Jesus, she is a very beautiful woman. And that fucking Vinnie Jones. Yes, yes, hard man. Made it as a footballer, he did. Was kind of funny the first time he appeared on screen. But stop now. It appears they gave him a scene where he could say some scary, hard shit. But it was completely off rhythm and seemed rediculous. Stop acting!

Also, what the fuck was Don Cheadle doing in this movie? Did he not read the script? Did he not see Gone in Sixty Seconds? He is a brilliant actor on the verge of a career that could go right to the top. He needs to be more careful.

Geek appeal:

This film disturbs my inner geek. There is a lot of computer focus and its all MovieOS shite, but even worse than you can imagine. Buzzwords fly around as much as bullets do in this movie. Its 'pop the firewall' this, and 'hack the mainframe' that. I am quite used to Hollywood approaching computers in this way, but there was something darker, more scary in this. There was the name Torvalds. There was mention of Carnivore. 128 bit cyphers. The feeling I got was that some Hollywood fatcat had gone down to MIT and grabbed a geek out of his lab, locked him in a wire cage just off camera and would poke him with a stick every time they needed a buzzword.

Social / poltical resonance

(Miniscule spoiler warning)
Relased shortly before September 11, this film is nothing if not timely. Travolta even says something about "countries harbouring terrorists" in the dialog somewhere. Aparently in the US this film was withdrawn from cinemas after Spetember 11 because of the scenes containing exploding buildings. The only reaosn to watch the film, again IMHO is that the movie poses the interesting question of Cost Vs Reward in terms of human life. Is it OK to kill 10 people to save a million people? Is it OK for the goodies to have their own army to murder the baddies? Make up your own minds. I have.

Overall verdict:

A poor, poor movie. Not even properly poor enough to be laughable. Insulting, boring and sloppily edited. The move ends with a scene which is supposed to explain who the mysterious people are. But it seems like they forgot to budget time for the scene and had to quickly splice it in under the credits in the foyer during the premier. Everything is rushed, out of sync, cheesy, Hollywood-ised and droll. Dont even send your Line Manager to it, its that bad.

I would bet the pitch meeting for this movie went like this:

Screenwriter: One word: COMPUTERS.
FatCat1: Computers, eh? Heard people like 'em these days.
Screenwriter: Cybercrime is the bank robbery of the nineties.
FatCat1: OK, throw in some computers. Who we gonna cast?
Screenwriter1: Heard Travolta is looking.
FatCat1: Travolta, eh? Right, you give me Travolta, computers and you got yourself a deal.
Screenwriter: Yaaay...
FatCat2: Hang on..arent we missing something, huh? The big 'P', for instance?
FatCat1: Good God you're right. Pussy! Get Halle Berry in there too. She's purty.
FatCat2: No! Police!
FatCat1: Shit, always forget them. Get the FBI in on the act as well. I want guns. Lots of guns. And Vinnie Jones is coming to my house for a barbie on Saturday. See if you can weasel him in as well. This is going to be a dang fine flick!
Screenwriter: As you wish...
FatCat1: And see if that Michael Dell will send us some computers with blinking lights on 'em. Tell him we will shove his logo down the throats of everyone within a hundred mile radius, will ya?

As usual, I would like to thank God, my parents, the IMDB for its wonderful database and everyone else in Western Kentucky for making this node possible. I love you all....

Sword"fish` (?), n.

1. Zool. (a)

A very large oceanic fish (Xiphias gladius), the only representative of the family Xiphiidae. It is highly valued as a food fish. The bones of the upper jaw are consolidated, and form a long, rigid, swordlike beak; the dorsal fin is high and without distinct spines; the ventral fins are absent. The adult is destitute of teeth. It becomes sixteen feet or more long.


The ger pike.


The cutlass fish.

2. Astron.

A southern constellation. See Dorado, 1.

Swordfish sucker Zool., a remora (Remora brachyptera) which attaches itself to the swordfish.


© Webster 1913.

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