Tuesday, September 5, 2023


Newly released on 4K, 1995's Hackers is a very silly movie about a group of "innocent" high school hackers who despite breaking multiple laws throughout the film are the victims and heroes of the plot when another hacker (Fisher Stevens) decides to frame them for his crimes. The film stars Jonny Lee Miller as a child prodigy banned from using computers until his 18th birthday where he returns to the world of computers and takes up with a group of local hackers which include the hyper-competitive girl (Angelina Jolie) he has a crush on.

The film is at its best when it stays a fun romp of the hackers' competition, including their repeated targeting of U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Richard Gill (Wendell Pierce). Relying on stylish visuals rather than code, Director Iain Softley's attempts to showcase the fun, and both the communal and explorative nature, of hacking.

When it stays with our group of cartoonish hackers (who also include Matthew Lillard and Laurence Mason), while ridiculous, Hackers is often quite a bit of fun and is admittedly something of a guilty pleasure. It's when we get to our villain, where the film runs into trouble. The Plague (Stevens) is one hell of a goofy villain who makes scapegoats the hackers who unknowingly find evidence about his crimes when one of their number (Jesse Bradford) hacks into his company's server. It's hard to imagine him as less threatening despite the convincing frame job he puts on the kids.

The film was both a critical and box office failure on its release, earning back less than half of its budget. Since then, however, it has found some love as a cult classic which lead to the movie's soundtrack being released on vinyl for its 25th anniversary and some initial talk about an eventual sequel that never materialized. Far from a great film, and a bit quaint given the limitations of 90s technology and its views of hacking all these years later, Hackers can still be a fun for the right audience, especially fans of Miller and/or Jolie.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Hackers
  • IMDb: link

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