Hackers

 
Jolie's high-tech thriller falls flat.
  • Review Date: August 9, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Computer hacking. The creation of destructive viruses is celebrated.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Suggestive dancing; explicit sexual fantasies.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking and some drinking; no consequences.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's a little drinking, a fair amount of smoking, and some quite explicit sexual fantasies in this film. The anti-authoritarian culture of computer hacking is glorified, and little distinction is made between harmless pranks and destructive viruses.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Super-hacker Dade Murphy, infamous for his creation of a destructive virus at age eleven, has just moved to New York City. A high school senior, Dade wins the respect of a group of teenage hackers and struggles to start a romance with sexy Kate (Angelina Jolie). When a member of the crowd hacks into a corporate computer system, Dade and his friends draw the attention of the FBI and of \"Plague,\" a former hacker turned corporate security officer. Plague launches a virus designed to create oil spills and frame the kids while covering up his own multi-million dollar scam. The teens (with help from hackers everywhere) must dash to stop the virus, unmask Plague's villainy, and keep themselves out of jail.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This attempt at cyberpunk suspense never gets any traction. Leaden scriptwriting, expressionless acting, and a startling lack of suspense leave HACKERS less than thrilling. The plot trickles along at a snail's pace, and the actors seem to be competing to see who can speak in the slowest monotone. Plague may well be the most whiny supervillain in the history of film; neither he nor a hapless FBI agent (obviously a bad guy since he can't speak computer lingo fluently) provide any real sense of menace.

The romantic subplot is equally flat, with lots of long, supposed-to-be smoldering looks between Dade and Kate to make up for the lack of either chemistry or interesting dialogue. Attempts at coolness only look contrived, and the high-tech edge is considerably blunted by the passage of time. (What, no wireless?) Posturing, silly, and above all, dull.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about computer hacking and the ethics of the online world. Should information be shared freely or controlled? How would you feel if somebody hacked into your computer or if a virus damaged your files? This might be an opportunity to find out what your kid thinks about common activities like downloading music -- is it wrong to shoplift something from a store but okay to download music without permission?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 15, 1995
DVD release date:August 25, 1998
Cast:Angelina Jolie, Jonny Lee Miller, Matthew Lillard
Director:Iain Softley
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sexuality and brief strong language

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 November 3, 2012
age 13+
 

hackers

Families can talk about computer hacking and the ethics of the online world. Should information be shared freely or controlled? How would you feel if somebody hacked into your computer or if a virus damaged your files? This might be an opportunity to find out what your kid thinks about common activities like downloading music -- is it wrong to shoplift something from a store but okay to download music without permission?
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byRick S. December 8, 2010
age 14+
 

Has mixed messages, yes, but the overall theme is positive.

Good film. I find it odd that the "Common Sense" profile for this film states that the film supports "The creation of destructive viruses is celebrated.", which is NOT TRUE because in the film, the hackers (i.e. the protagonists) work towards the end-goal of stopping the virus...

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