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Details At A Glance

Category Drama Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 2.35:1 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1995 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
100:45 minutes
(not 108 minutes)
Other Extras Main Menu Animation
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (54:48)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection then Menu
Region 2,4 Director Iain Softley

Fox Home Entertainment
Starring Jonny Lee Miller
Angelina Jolie
Fisher Stevens
Lorraine Bracco
Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Simon Boswell

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes, excessive
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    One of the problems that any movie about computers faces is the reality test amongst computer-savvy movie-goers. Hackers in particular sets itself up for a fall by attempting to depict the hacker subculture, a subculture which by its very nature does not immediately lend itself to an exciting movie experience - spending hours nearly motionless in front of a computer screen hacking into a remote computer system hardly seems the stuff that big-screen entertainment is all about. Hackers attempts to get around this by de-emphasizing the mundane, by using flashy graphics to depict virtual reality, and by setting this all to a pumping techno soundtrack.

    Let's get one thing straight before we go any further - all the usual Hollywood computer conventions are here in this movie in abundance; infinitely fast Internet access via an acoustic coupler or a 28.8K modem, high resolution virtual reality graphics where there really should be text, and the apparent ability to program an entire graphics intensive subsystem with just a few lines of machine code. You must accept this as a given. If you cannot accept this, then the movie is doomed to fail. Personally, I resigned myself to the technical inaccuracies and just went along for the ride, which wasn't a bad ride at all.

    Dade (Jonny Lee Miller) is a veteran computer hacker at the age of 18 who is transferred to a new school. Kate (Angelina Jolie) is his love interest, and an elite hacker as well. Joey (Jesse Bradford) is a wanna-be who hacks into a minerals corporation mainframe and inadvertently discovers a worm program which is stealing money from the company. He doesn't realize what he has found, but the man responsible for planting the worm (Fisher Stevens) does, and figures that the best way to cover his tracks is to plant a virus which will cause an ecological disaster and blame it all on the relatively innocent hackers.

Transfer Quality


    This is a superb transfer and is of reference quality.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was very sharp and very clear, with a great amount of detail to be seen in the picture. Shadow detail is excellent and there is no low level noise.

    The colours were well-rendered throughout, with clear, vivid colours interspersed with dirty greys and browns.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Film to video artefacts consisted of some minor aliasing here and there but nothing particularly noticeable. Film artefacts went unnoticed.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between Chapters 18 and 19, at 54:48. The layer change is well placed and unobtrusive.


    This is an excellent soundtrack, and is of near-reference quality.

    There are five audio tracks on this DVD, all Dolby Digital 5.1; English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. I listened to the default English soundtrack.

    Dialogue was easy to understand at all times, and was generally clear, though there were a few instances of distortion in the peaks of the dialogue.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The score by Simon Boswell is suitably energetic and frenetic, adding considerably to the on-screen excitement.

    The surround channels were variably used to support the soundtrack. They were frequently used for music and for aggressive sound effects, but conversely at other times the soundtrack collapsed down into mono dialogue with no surround activity at all. This mars an otherwise exemplary and aggressive surround mix slightly, but it still remains an excellent and highly enveloping soundtrack.

    The .1 channel was aggressively and effectively used by the soundtrack to support the music.


    There is a small selection of extras on this disc.

Menu - 16x9 Enhanced

Main Menu Animation

Theatrical Trailer


    This is a good read. It is comprised basically of extended production notes.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this DVD appears to have fundamentally the same extras as the Region 1 version, only missing out on menu audio.


    If you can ignore the technical inaccuracies, Hackers is an entertaining way to spend 100 minutes of your time.

    The video quality is of reference standard.

    The audio quality is of near-reference standard.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
14th December 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer