So, I’m going to talk about movies again. (And spoil the first one, and a little bit of the second, so be warned…)
Last night, I saw a movie (to be fair, I saw half of it due to switching locations) called Swordfish, starring Hugh Jackman, Holly Berry and John Travolta as the bad guy. To sum the movie up, Travolta and Berry play members of a secret US organization which actively hunts down and kills threats to the United States. For whatever reason, they’re going to lose their funding, so Travolta comes up with a big scheme to steal a few hundred million dollars by means of a bank heist crossed with a computer hacking job. To do this, they need the best hacker available, so enter Hugh Jackman, the best hacker available and just out of prison. He’s trying to get his daughter back from her mother, who’s married to a porn king (and one of his main stars) but the courts prefer her to an ex-con. So, to get the money to win in court against his ex-wife, Jackman signs on with Travolta and Berry, not realizing what he’s getting into. Jackman basically spends the movie finding out what’s really going on and freaking out as Travolta kills various people, being those who get in the way of his holy quest to save America. He endangers and kills innocents as well as the people who try to stop him, and is a bad bad man, which makes Jackman turn against him in the end.
In fact, Jackman kills Travolta and his buddies by blowing up their helicopter with a rocket launcher because he wants him dead, dead, dead because he’s really and evil man. So, the FBI agent who was also hunting Travolta takes Jackman to ID the body…and Jackman looks down and sees the body in the morgue isn’t Travolta. At which point Jackman puts together a bunch of “clues” during the movie and realizes how Travolta escaped and how much of what he thought he saw during the movie was lies. The villain is still out there, and he’s the only one who might know it and be able to help the FBI nail him, much less the question of Travolta coming back to kill him and his daughter. So, he immediately tells the FBI agent the truth, right?
He mumbles “yeah”, and leaves to go of with his (now recovered) daughter on a camping trip. Meanwhile we see Berry’s character clean out the foreign bank account, and then get news reports of terrorist leaders all over the world being killed.
End of movie.
What the heck? So, let me get this staight, the bad guy completely won in every way possible…and we’re to feel good about this because he’s killing other “bad guys”? Or, because the bad guy was John Travolta somehow it makes it okay? And, Jackman, who was ready to kill the villain is suddenly happy to let him go? Who wrote this crap?
In other news…today I saw Sahara with Connie and her mother, which overall is a pretty average adventure film with a few clever ideas but generally forgettable cardboard characters who walk through the movie doing what their characters are supposed to do. (ie Action Hero does what action heroes do, sidekick does what sidekicks do, villians do…etc) But, since it’s an action movie, all is to be expected and most of it can be forgiven in the name of entertainment.
What can’t be forgiven, however, is the ending.
Oh, it has the normal action movie ending (sort of, the bad guy doesn’t die during the film but theoretically will eventually die…sort of…) but the problem lies in that the movie hinges on the central mystery of how a US Civil War Ironclad filled with gold coins ended up in the Sahara desert. The movie opens with the ship leaving, and the ship is referenced countless times, it’s a major plot point and in fact the ship does turn up by the end of the movie (surprise!) in time to play a pivotal role in the story. They even explain how the ship could have gotten up the Niger river to the desert, and it’s a good and logical explanation, no problems there.
The problem comes in that since the movie producers are so busy trying to make their little action movie about how dumping toxic waste in the middle of the desert will destroy the world (You’d have to see it, and I don’t buy it, but I guess the movie wouldn’t be interesting if the hero’s didn’t somehow save the world in the process…) they kind’ve-sort’ve never bother to tell us how or why the ship ended up there (sitting there cargo intact next to a desert fortress for 150 years without anyone noticing) in the first place. I’m not kidding, they literally forget to tell us the answer to the mystery that we’ve been waiting two hours to find out. I guess they figure the audience forgot about that little old detail while we were watching the endless bullets and car chases. My only hope is, that since this was based on a novel there actually is a reason out there, and it either a) was lost on the cutting room floor during editing by accident, or b) lost during the endless re-writes that resulted from the 3 different sets of screenwriters listed in the opening credits taking a pass at it.
Then again, maybe I’m the only one who noticed or cared. (And, I did check with Connie and her Mom, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and I didn’t…there were no answers given.) It’s just I feel a little ripped off, like reading a Sherlock Holmes story where they never reveal the killer or a movie where the bad guy wins for no good reason…
Watch Swordfish again. Some things have gone over your head.
While I admit that’s possible, there are still a few minor points that can’t be argued:
1) Travolta’s character is a self-serving killer.
2) Jackman tries to kill him, then lets him escape when he fails.
3) Travolta wins in the end, although so does Jackman.