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REVIEW: "Hackers", Rafael Moreu/Ian Softley (director)

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    VDHACKRS.RVW 20010308 Hackers , Rafael Moreu/Ian Softley (director), 1995, 0-7928-4467-X %A Rafael Moreu %C 2500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90404-3061
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 26, 2001
      VDHACKRS.RVW 20010308

      "Hackers", Rafael Moreu/Ian Softley (director), 1995, 0-7928-4467-X
      %A Rafael Moreu
      %C 2500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90404-3061
      %D 1995
      %E Iain Softley (director)
      %G 0-7928-4467-X
      %I MGM/UA
      %O www.mgm.com MGM_customerservice@...
      %P 105 min.
      %T "Hackers"

      One of the review quotes used to promote this film states that it
      "[s]ucceeds at just about everything `The Net' failed to." I'm not
      sure what this success is supposed to entail. "Hackers" does have
      better graphics, a more frenetic pace, hackers versus hackers, and a
      sense of communal versus singular effort. Plus a neat semi-climactic
      plot twist. (Which, however, becomes rather foolish if you really
      knew what was happening in one of the earlier scenes. Why bother
      recabling phones locally when you can bounce calls through half a
      dozen relays?)

      Semi-believable: law enforcement sending a SWAT team to break down the
      doors and grab a pre-teen cracker. (One does hope they've learned
      something since Operation Sun Devil.) (Not living there I wouldn't
      know, but do Americans really allow that kind of media harrassment of
      juvenile offenders?)

      OK, let's list the stereotypes. Crackers are young, evil geniuses
      (genii?) A virus, presumably written and run on a PC, can bring down
      a mainframe based transaction system. Graphical interface instant
      messaging systems that work through tape library controllers. Video
      games skills equate to technical skills. Graphical interfaces for
      everything, including ransom notes in viruses. (The "Leonardo Da
      Vinci" virus? Oh, please ...) The salami scam. A virus which, even
      when found, is undetectable.

      In order to convince us that the movie truly is 'leet, we have what?
      Nice fractals? And mentions of the cookie prank and virus. Flu-Shot
      (although it doesn't work on mainframes). Social engineering.
      Dumpster diving. Arf, Arf and Gotcha (that was a trojan, not a
      virus). Emmanuel Goldstein.

      While the movie is fun, the tone is uneven, celebrating anarchic
      security breaking exploits without demonstrating the real dangers
      involved in "just looking." Sure, we're told that Wall Street drops
      some percentage points, and we see a three car accident, but the
      massive chaos and suffering that could result from the electronic
      horseplay is nowhere to be seen. There is an additional level of
      unreality in the fact that the bad guy has way too much power, and yet
      falls way too easily.

      Still, if you completely clear your mind of any vestige of logic, the
      graphics are pretty.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 2001 VDHACKRS.RVW 20010308

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      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade
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