Using handles like Crash Override, Acid Burn, and Cereal Killer, hackers belong to an informal, secret society where computer security is not an deterrent but a challenge. The movie "Hackers" attempts to portray the Generation X members who belong to this techno-underground in a way that will appeal to others members of the generation. In this respect, the film succeeds admirably.
Seven years ago, an eleven year old who called himself Zero Cool crashed over 1,500 computers on Wall Street, creating financial turmoil the world over. The judge overseeing the case forbade Dade Murphy (Jonny Lee Miller) to use a computer or even a touchtone phone until his 18th birthday. Now 18 and in a new city, Dade immediately returns to his hacking ways under a new pseudonym. He challenges a beautiful hacker named Kate (Angelina Jolie) to a hacking contest in order to prove his prowess and win a date from her.
Their relatively innocent game is interrupted by a master hacker calling himself The Plague (Fisher Stevens) who frames the young computer whizzes as creators of a devastating computer virus. In actuality, the virus is a ruse to hide the fact that the master hacker and his accomplice (Lorraine Bracco) are electronically stealing millions of dollars from the company at which they are employed. Naturally, the band of hackers discover this hidden agenda and try to expose the couple before the authorities catch up with them.
Although it does so in a way that will make the computer- literate flinch, "Hackers" is a reasonably accurate depiction of the shady side of the computer world. Pumped up with a pounding soundtrack and stunning visuals, the film seems perfectly geared to an audience raised on video games and MTV. Those who can overlook the film's contrivances and a stilted performance by Lorraine Bracco will find that "Hackers" delivers the goods that "The Net" couldn't.