Cult Film Corner: Hackers

Cult Film Corner continues its little foray in to the world of hacking, this time with 1995’s Hackers.

It’s 1988 in Seattle. A house in a picturesque neighbourhood is raided by a fully-armed SWAT team and an eleven year old Dade Murphy arrested. In court, we find out that Dade, under his moniker Zero Cool, hacked and crashed 1,507 systems and caused the stock market to dip by seven points. Convicted, he’s banned from own a computer or operating a touch-tone telephone until his eighteenth birthday, and his parents fined $40,000.

Fast forward seven years, his parents divorced, Dade (Jonny Lee Miller) is now eighteen and has moved with his super hot mother to New York. Allowed a computer again, and enrolled at a new school, he’s back to his old ways. Going under the new name of Crash Override to cover up past misdemeanours, he hacks a television station. He’s confronted by another hacker, Acid Burn, and they battle until Crash find himself booted from the system.

After a series of pranks ingratiate him with the hacker community at the school, Dade discovers that Kate Libby (Angelina Jolie) is Acid Burn and he challenges her to a hacker battle to win a date. During this, a junior member of Dade’s new group of friends, Joey (Jesse Bradford) hacks into a bank and partially downloads what he thinks is an irrelevant garbage file. Unfortunately for him, it’s not. Hidden inside the file is a worm that has been created by the bank’s security officer, Eugene Bellman (Fisher Stevens), AKA The Plague, that siphons off a few cents of very transaction the bank makes. In order to cover his tracks, The Plague creates a virus called Da Vinci and blames Joey and his hacker friends for putting it there. Calling in the Secret Service, Dade and his buddies only have a few days to clear their names, avoid arrested, and destroy the virus…

My God, I LOVE Hackers. I know, I probably shouldn’t, but I can’t help it. The film is almost unbearably ’90s. Everyone roller blades and wears tight ill-fitting brightly coloured lycra. The effects are laughable at times – check out any moment when a character begins a hack and the screen is magically beamed onto their human faces. Also, the spinning telephone kiosks sequence near the end, the flying about in cyberspace in the computers, and this something I noticed in the other Cult Film Corner review, WarGames, why do all these supposed uber-hackers type so slowly? I mean, I’m a two-finger prodder and even I can knock out words quicker than they can. Yes, this is all very silly, but I can’t bring myself to dislike anything about the little movie.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe it brings back so many of the good feelings I had as a teen. The first crushes on ladygirls – Angelina Jolie is freakishly stunning, we all know that, but the 19-year-old, pixie-haired Jolie is something else. There’s no doubt she had a massive influence on the type of girlie I’m attracted to. And that first flush with music – It has a thumping dance/techno soundtrack with The Prodigy, Orbital, and Leftfield – all of which I loved back then. And like the soundtrack, the film is pounds along too with a near-perfect running time of an hour and a half. It doesn’t hang around, it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Hackers is a ridiculous and enjoyable movie. I recommend you seek it out. Hack the planet! HACK THE PLANET!

More Reviews:

Troll Hunter

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger


The Girl With Dragon Tattoo (2009)


Super 8

The Parallax View

Cowboys And Aliens

Swamp Thing

X-Men First Class

The Human Centipede

Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

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