For more than a decade, Bullock headlined one romantic comedy after another as the-girl-next-door looking for love. She pulled off being everything from a FBI agent to an activist lawyer. In “The Net,” Bullock is a lovely hacker on the run because she knows of a program that can hack into any computer anywhere. Sorry, but the words hacker and lovely are mutually exclusive. There is no such thing as a sexy hacker.
Before she became famous for "Tomb Raider" and adopting children from multiple third-world countries, Jolie cut her teeth as a hacker in “Hackers” as a high school student who doubles as a master hacker. While it is true that high school students are tech savvy, most are more interested in texting one another rather than trying to crash computer systems belonging to major corporations. Jolie also violates the sexy hacker rule.
Believable as a jock and a prep boy jerk? Yeah, Phillipe showed he could pull those roles off in “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Cruel Intentions.” When it comes to computer hacking, Phillipe seems more convincing as someone who would bully a computer nerd for their lunch money or hire them to install a computer operated security system at their mansion in the gated community where they reside.
The fact Reeves even has a successful movie career is a bigger mystery than Bigfoot and the Bermuda Triangle. He has never been believable in any role except stoned-out teenager. Hacker is no exception. “Johnny Mnemonic” has Reeves playing a hacker who carries valuable information in a cybernetic implant in his brain. Villains are after him to obtain the sensitive information and Reeves just wants it gone so he can regain his childhood memories. It fails when the audience remembers Reeves has nothing in his brain in the first place.
It is not totally Jackman's fault he does not make a good hacker in “Swordfish.” He is doomed to fail in a seriously miscast movie. Halle Berry is delicious eye candy, but violates the sexy hacker rule. John Travolta hams it up as the primary villain. The script also has Jackman doing ridiculous things like creating computer viruses from 3D modeling. His best bet is to stick to his strengths – Broadway and Wolverine movies.
If he is battling Nazis as a globe-trotting archeologist or piloting the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field, Ford is in his element and draws the audience into the story. His hacker credentials in “Firewall” leave something to be desired. He steals money from his employer using his daughter's iPod? Any computer novice could tell you that a hi-tech machine is not going to confuse bank accounts with songs downloaded from the Internet.