The turn of the millennium was full of techno thrillers that looked to capitalize on the shared fear of how the internet would impact everyone’s life, and when you watch many of them back now it’s almost laughable how dated they are. One such effort is Dominic Senna’s Swordfish, which reached theaters in June 2001 with hopes of being that year’s zeitgeisty and splashy summer smash hit, only to underperform drastically given the talent involved and a budget north of $100 million.
Swordfish found almost all of its principal cast members at strange times in their careers. For John Travolta, it was his first major release since the disastrous Battlefield Earth, and the actor hams it up with one of his worst beard-and-wig combos ever. On Halle Berry’s filmography, meanwhile, the movie was sandwiched in between blockbuster hit X-Men and her Academy Award winning turn in Monster’s Ball, and she generated plenty of headlines when it was revealed that the studio forked out an extra $500,000 to convince her to do a topless scene.
For her X-Men co-star Hugh Jackman, it was his first major role after his breakout turn as Logan, so he was hoping to cement his action hero credentials even further, while Vinnie Jones was also there because it was a late 90s/early 2000s genre film looking for someone who could appear mean without having to say much.
The plot follows Jackman’s hacker as he’s recruited by Travolta’s shady criminal to access a government server and steal billions of dollars, and while the opening scene is pretty memorable compared to the rest of the pic, as a whole Swordfish isn’t up to much. Despite that, don’t bet against it becoming the latest star-powered and forgotten thriller to post a good showing on Netflix when it arrives on June 1st.