If Hollywood were an island, then John Travolta shouldn't just be voted off--he should be drowned and his body eaten by all of the starving celebrities. This smarmy prig was vanquished mercifully from the public consciousness once before, but he smirked his way back thanks to that dastardly Tarantino. After enduring Swordfish, his third successively inexcusable turd to complete the shame of Battlefield Earth and Lucky Numbers, we aren't gonna take it any more.
OK, so not everything he does is abhorrent--he's no Kevin Costner. But for every Face/Off, there's a Phenomenon. For every Saturday Night Fever, there's a Staying Alive. For every Get Shorty, there are three Look Who's Talkings.
In the opening minutes of Swordfish, he's back to his old smug thug shtick with a monologue about the crap that passes for movies these days--a brief bright moment that in retrospect could just as well be a surgeon general's warning about the carcinogenic contents to follow.
This lazy winking and nudging--the same bit he's been doing since the O70s--would be almost acceptable if the remaining 90 minutes of the movie had a fraction of the energy of its opening sequence. Without further validating this joyless techie-action hodgepodge with a review, let us recall that Travolta has done nothing with the largely undeserved resurrection that Pulp Fiction brought him but instead returned again and again to that same well. Let us hope that he loses his celebrity visa once more, and be restricted forever to appearances in Scientology infomercials.
--By Greg Bloom