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Hackers Movie Review

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In the beginning, hackers were, well, sort of geeky. They could be supporting characters in the movies, the experts that the cool heroes went to see when they needed help. But they rarely left their computer terminals. Iain (Backbeat) Softley's movie, Hackers, is the latest cinematic effort to lionize hackers and turn them into the cool heroes. The protagonist hacker is state-of-the-art cute. His female nemesis (and eventual girlfriend) wears brown eyeshadow and black lipstick. Virtually all of their fellow hackers are whizzes on skateboards, a phenomenon that rarely occurs in real life. And as for the computer graphics, there's no such thing as a dull or undecorated screen. None of that “Do you really want to do this?” crap, just bold, colorful images, seamlessly edited into the dazzling, fast-paced lives that hackers lead. (And if you swallow the premise, I can make you a sensational deal on the Golden Gate Bridge.) The bad guys are Fisher Stevens (overacting as usual) and Lorraine Bracco (totally wasted). The main hacker's mother is Alberta Watson, who also played the incestuous mom in Spanking the Monkey. (In some sequences, she appears to be wearing the same bathrobe…an inside joke?) All the hackers seem to have “hot new star” stamped on their foreheads. They talk about megabytes and RAM as if they were discussing their favorite sexual positions. (True to hacker mythology, though, there isn't any real sex, only fantasies.) Everyone's an eyelash too old to be a pin-up in teen magazines Like All Stars or Tiger Beat. And the “hackers of the world unite” anthem is just dumb. The producers hope that the pulsing soundtrack, the fashions, and the erotically charged atmosphere will lure kiddies into theatres/video outlets in droves. (Jonny Lee Miller made a better career move by playing third lead in Trainspotting than by starring in this one.)

1995 (PG-13) 105m/C Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, Fisher Stevens, Lorraine Bracco, Jesse Bradford, Wendell Pierce, Alberta Watson, Laurence Mason, Renoly Santiago, Matthew Lillard, Penn Jillette; D: Iain Softley; W: Rafael Moreu; C: Andrzej Sekula; M: Simon Boswell. VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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