on September 15, 1995 by Christine James
The recent techno-theme continues in "Hackers," in which genius cyberpunks make sport of breaking into corporation computers. When one stumbles upon the private files of a master hacker/criminal (Fisher Stevens) who calls himself The Plague, the group is framed in a diabolical blackmail plot. The cast is a contrivedly eclectic, eccentric and termi- nally hip assortment who dress in too-cool thrift store-salvaged postapoca-lyptic punk apparel and rollerblade about town with souped-up Powerbooks in their knapsacks. Dade Murphy (Jonny Lee Miller), aka Crash Override, is a legend for having caused a Wall Street panic with prepubescent hacking. Icy Kate Libby (Angelina Jolie) uses the handle Acid Burn. The two engage in a love/hate rivalry, dueling with their keyboards.
   There are also the Spicoli-esque Cereal Killer (Matthew Lillard), savvy Phantom Phreak (Renoly Santiago), novice Joey ("Far From Home's" Jesse Bradford) and Lord Nikon (Laurence Mason), named for his photographic memory. Joey, Phreak and Cereal have the most fun, sharing something of a Larry, Curly and Moe feel. But Miller doesn't have the charisma to back up Dade's cocky charm, and though Jolie (Jon Voight's daughter) has a strong presence she hasn't much to do. Stevens isn't anyone's idea of a formidable villain, his goofball visage making him as menacing as the Dwarf Happy. Lorraine Bracco is also miscast in an awkward, unconvincing portrayal of an industry leader who aids The Plague's plan.
   This rehash of teens-outsmarting-evil-and/or-bumbling-adult s and the banding-of-underground-misunderstood-outc asts- to-thwart-an-evil-oppressor motifs, not to mention the done-to-death-since-"Tron" Internet-as-city metaphor, ultimately falls flatter than a floppy disk, relying solely on style to divert attention from the lack of an original plot. Starring Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie and Fisher Stevens. Directed by Iain Softley. Written by Rafael Moreu. Produced by Michael Peyser and Ralph Winter. A UA release. Thriller. Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and brief strong language. Running time: 105 min.
Tags: Starring Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, Fisher Stevens, Directed by Iain Softley, Written by Rafael Moreu. Produced by Michael Peyser, Ralph Winter, A UA release, Thriller, villain, portrayal, adult, misunderstood, evil

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