🎥🍣 Movie Sushi — Swordfish
Gabriel Shear says Hollywood movies lack realism. He thinks the hostage taker in Dog Day Afternoon should’ve started killing straight away, making the press pay more attention.
Each of Gabriel’s twenty two hostages has been wrapped with 20lbs of C4 explosives and 15lbs of stainless steel ball bearings. Around their necks are radio frequency dog collars. If a hostage leaves the bank, the device detonates. Then, a hostage taker is shot and killed and a SWAT team member grabs a hostage. She explodes and we see the resulting blast’s effect in slow motion.
Four days earlier
Axl Torvalds arrives at LAX airport. When security finds a second passport in his bag, he makes a run for it — but he’s soon detained.
Gabriel sends Ginger Knowles, in sports car and sexy dress, to visit talented, ex-con hacker Stanley. Stan says he’ll be back in Leavenworth if he touches a computer again.
Stan calls alcoholic ex-wife, Melissa who says daughter Holly’s at soccer practice. She then threatens Stan with prison violence if he comes near her Malibu home.
Ginger can help Stan get the best family lawyer in the country if he works for Gabriel. She throws him $100,000 as a down payment.
Torvalds is wanted on twenty four counts of electronic crimes in seven different countries and is the world’s greatest hacker. FBI Agent Roberts says he once shot a hacker in the hand — it being difficult to type one-handed. Torvalds says he doesn’t know his boss’s name, only that he lives a fantasy life. He does whatever he wants whenever he wants. Every time, Torvalds is collected and taken to him. He does the job, he’s paid and he leaves. When Roberts is momentarily tricked into leaving the room, Gabriel’s henchman Marco executes both Torvalds and his Finnish interpreter.
At his club, Gabriel shows Stan his mission. It’s the Department of Defense database, 128-bit encryption. Stanley is grabbed and his trousers unbuckled. Gabriel says what the best hackers can do in sixty minutes, he needs done in sixty seconds. Marco puts a gun to Stan’s head. Gabriel counts down from sixty seconds to zero while, also, Helga’s performing a sex act on Stan. Stan hits one final button and spins the laptop around. Access Granted.
Roberts watches LAX footage of men present when Torvalds was detained. They find Stanley Jobson, Wired magazine’s 1996 Man of the Year. Roberts wants to know why he’s in LA, perhaps it’s to see his ex-wife? Roberts puts surveillance on her house.
Gabriel wants to know how Stan broke into the DoD database. Stan says he somehow sees the code in his head. Gabriel shows Stan seven screens arranged in a circle above a keyboard. Gabriel needs a hydra — a multi-headed worm designed to sniff out digital footprints across an encrypted network. Gabriel needs a Vernam encryption cypher. The key code is destroyed upon implementation and it’s a true 128-bit encryption. Ginger says they’re talking a 512 bit. Stan says it’s not possible. Gabriel offers him $10m. Ginger explains some high end specifications, then Stan agrees to attempt it.
Roberts appears and Stan makes a run for it, hurling himself down a steep hill to escape. A car meets him at the bottom. Roberts offers to help with Holly but Stan’s reluctant. Roberts then says Torvalds is dead.
Stan notices Ginger’s wearing a wire. She says she’s DEA. Then, Gabriel takes Stan for coffee. Gabriel tells Stan about Operation Swordfish, over triple espressos. In the 80s, the DEA set up some dummy corporations as a front to launder drug money and gather evidence. These companies then started making a lot of money. In 1986, $400m was in these DEA accounts. Currently, the money is worth $9.5bn.
Gabriel wants to go in over the phone lines, pop the firewall, drop in the hydra and wait for the money. To access the cluster, you need a bank on the backbone of the network. Gabriel knows of such a bank.
In college, Stan created the source code for the worm he uses. In a Caltech basement is the only PDP-10 still active and on the internet — not many people know this. It’s an ITS machine, kept online for historical sake. Stan hid his worm there where no-one would ever look. This grants him access.
The senator is worried that the FBI knows about Gabriel’s operation. The senator aborts the operation. Gabriel says everything’s under control. Now, the senator wants Gabriel killed.
Stan goes to the wine cellar and finds a corpse resembling Gabriel. Soon after, Gabriel suggests they both go for a drive. Gabriel talks about Harry Houdini, who could make an elephant disappear in a full theatre using misdirection. Gabriel drives evasively when he sees they’re being followed. He gets a belt-fed machine gun from the boot of his car. The cars following are destroyed. Gabriel says Stan shouldn’t confuse kindness with weakness and gives Stan twelve hours to get the hydra.
Gabriel’s helicopter interrupts Jim, the senator, fly-fishing in a river. He says the FBI is watching. Gabriel tells that Thomas Jefferson once shot a man on the Whitehouse lawn for treason. As Gabriel kills Jim, the senator’s assistant simultaneously triggers a fatal car bomb elsewhere leaving both men dead.
Stan tells Gabriel he’s finished and Gabriel hands Stan a phone. The voice confirms his name and social security number and that she’s calling from Credit Suisse to notify him $10m was just transferred into his new bank account.
In the 1950s, J Edgar Hoover started a secret organisation called Black Cell to protect the freedoms of America. It’s Gabriel’s job to protect those freedoms. Gabriel takes Stan into a tech bunker full of computers, servers and weapons. They retaliate against global terrorists on behalf of Americans everywhere.
When Stan realises they’re going into the actual bank, it’s too late. Gabriel reminds Stan he has $10m. Stan then radically unplugs an important-looking cable. The room darkens. Gabriel gives the order to leave.
A convoy of Gabriel’s Humvees and a bus drives up to the bank. Several of these Humvees enter the bank crashing through the windows. The manager surrenders the key, giving Gabriel access to the bank’s mainframe. All hostages are gathered together with their bomb vests standing by.
When a hostage leaves the perimeter, the resulting blast is not insignificant. The wreckage includes burning, upside down cars, with plenty of dead and wounded people. Gabriel wants a plane ready on the runway in twenty five minutes.
Inside, Stan demands to see his daughter and he does so. Gabriel says Stan must finish the job if he wants Holly to go free. Gabriel wants the $9.5bn spread evenly over his accounts. Once the transaction is verified, Holly embraces her father.
Then, the money begins vanishing. Holly successfully flees the bank, but Marco holds Stan at gunpoint. But, if Gabriel kills Stan, he’ll never get the money. Stan says the money jumps from one numbered account to another for the next ten years — but it wasn’t supposed to start happening for six hours. Stan wants all the hostages freed, then he’ll say where and when the money can be extracted.
Gabriel puts a rope around Ginger’s neck and hangs her from the ceiling, saying she’ll be dead in sixty seconds. Stan accesses the money again. Gabriel’s plane will be ready in half an hour. Once Stan’s relocated the money, Ginger is cut down. Gabriel then shoots her in the chest, labelling her DEA.
Gabriel tells the hostages the bus is their new holding area. If they test the boundaries, their bomb vests will detonate. Gabriel justifies his apparent cruelty — saying that a few must die to save the many. Then, an S-64 Aircrane helicopter appears and hoists the bus up from the road and into the air. Police are incredulous.
In strong winds, the bus swings into a skyscraper and the attaching cables snap. Suspended now from only its back end, the bus is carried onwards in vertical fashion. The bus is lowered on to a skyscraper roof by a waiting helicopter. Soon, Stan destroys Gabriel’s helicopter with a bazooka.
Roberts and Stan identify Gabriel’s body at the morgue. The dental records match those of an ex-Mossad agent. But, there’s no record of Ginger being DEA and no record of her body. Stan thinks back to Gabriel’s Houdini misdirection speech. Things are much better with Stan and Holly. She reassures him everything will be fine.
Ginger walks to a small yacht where Gabriel is waiting and tells him the money’s been distributed evenly over all the accounts.
A news report announces that a sought-after terrorist has been killed in an unexplained explosion aboard a yacht in the Mediterranean. He was considered responsible for a killing at a US embassy earlier this month in Istanbul — the third killing of a major terrorist leader in as many weeks.
Starring John Travolta. Hugh Jackman. Halle Berry. Rated 15. Dir Dominic Sena. Released in the UK 2001. Runtime 1hr 39mins