"Hack The Planet!"

Hello everyone, welcome to a fresh week of excitement here at The Tagline! Last night, in a moment of weakness I asked my Facebook for movie suggestions, and I don't know why I was surprised at the outcome. While there were a fair number of varied suggestions (many of which you will most likely see over the coming weeks) there was also a public outcry for me to review Hackers, a thing that I desperately did not want to do (as you may remember, earlier this year I reviewed another 90s cyberthriller, Sandra Bullock's The Net). Still, as reluctant as I might have been, the people spoke, loudly, and some of them said cusswords at me to emphasize their point, which I returned in high volume (which is to say I swore loudly, at my computer screen). The end result was that I decided I had to watch Hackers, in all its mysterious computers of the early 90s glory, only not actually because I question whether the people who made this movie had ever seen a computer. If you were not around in the 90s, or just suppressed this part of them feverishly when trying to craft an idyllic picture of your past, cyberthrillers pretty much had their day at the early to mid section of the 90s, when computers and the internet were just common enough that people knew they were a thing, but had no idea how they functioned or what mad wizards operated them. People mostly STILL don't have any idea, but they know at least what computers look like and that you can browse Facebook on them. Hackers stars Jonny Lee Miller (who mostly went on to a career in TV, but remember him in Aeon Flux?) as Dade Murphy AKA CRASH OVERRIDE, a high senior with a past as a hacker (when he was like 10) that gave him both a record and a reputation. Despite his bad history with the law and the net, he can't stay away from those tasty, crispy cyberwaves, or what the fuck ever they decide is thematically appropriate slang in this movie. Dade immediately falls in with a group of hackers upon moving to NYC and arriving at his new school, and that's when things start to get complicated. He finds himself quickly caught up in a complex web of plots and futuristic looking 3D animations, as his friends become the targets of a set-up that will allow inveterate asshole Plague (Fischer Stevens who was most notably also in The Super Mario Bros movie ouch) to steal 25 million dollars from the company he works as security for. Everyone needs a scapegoat I guess!

Just seriously, what the fuck wardrobe guy.
Of course all this intrigue comes in the midst of a hacking competition between Dade and supposedly smokin' hot hacker Kate AKA ACID BURN (Angelina Jolie in improbable shades of eye shadow so that's so great I guess) to see who can be a dick to some police officer the most, which is all super edgy and sexy or something. There's a lot of cybery-sounding music and wacky antics and people using hip slang while talking about computers in a way that is highly suggestive. I seriously can't think of another movie where more things were penetrated. I can't think of another movie where they said the WORD penetrate this many times. Delicate systems are CONSTANTLY being penetrated, leaving their sensitive data vulnerable, and spreading viruses... like I think the movie should have actually been called Computer Fuckers. I am now afraid that I will be penetrated by a robot while I'm checking my email. Worse yet, there is a possibility that this robot is being controlled by Matthew Lillard, who in this movie has his hair braided and calls himself Cereal Killer (you may know him as Shaggy in the live action Scooby-Doo movies...maybe). That truly would be a fate worse than death.

This movie also takes some creative liberties with what it is like to use a computer. I assume that some person explained that hacking looks like typing some characters into a black screen, and not like a futuristic cyber luge sequence, and that the movie producers decided that wasn't going to cut it. So instead we're treated to an inside of a computer that looks a lot like the robot controlled fields in the Matrix where they grow people. The attempts to make hacking seem action packed are almost physically painful to watch, in the same way that trying to make Fischer Stevens a menacing villain is absolutely ridiculous (particularly when he is supposed to also be a computer geek in the movie anyway). Watching people use payphones to try and hack things is also amusing, as I don't think payphones even exist anymore (I mean I'm sure there are SOME but you're not going to use them to hack the planet! that's for sure). I am also confused as to why all the characters in this movie dress like they're in the X-Games.

Just... feel the raw kinetic energy coming off this still.
The goofy slang is the best, because I love hearing an especially annoying Matt Lillard talk about how crispy something is, or how Kate's computer is totally in the butter zone. I don't know if a brain can commit suicide, but I feel like mine was trying to as hard as it could while Cereal Killer laughed about how Kate and Dade were CRASH AND BURRRNNN. Thanks movie, your word play is so clever and your romantic pairing so subtle that it definitely needed Shaggy HOWLING ABOUT IT WHILE HE CAPERED AROUND IN HIS DUMB GLASSES. Speaking of people wearing dumb glasses, this movie has some other amusing castings in it, including Penn Gilette for reasons that will remain mysterious to me, and also a very scrawny and young Marc Anthony, who I always forget is an actor until he like randomly pops up in Man on Fire or something equally random.

I'm not sure what more I can say to elucidate just how absurd this whole thing is, so here instead, in place of my caustic discussion, is a clip, encompassing the "action filled climax". Enjoy:

That's all for today! Join me again later this week, when I grab another random movie out of the suggestion bag!


  1. Hackers is the greatest non-film about non-computer things in the non-butter zone. But seriously, it's roughly the greatest comedy ever.

    1. It's true, Hackers is a movie that is not about any of the things it is about.


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