Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
Mr Scientology (Tom Cruise) is back as IMF agent Ethan Hunt for the fourth instalment of the Mission Impossible series. As ever, the plot is as crazy as jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch, full of live-action stunts, high-tech thrills and an evil genius determined to destroy the world for two hours of high-octane excitement.
Hacking is present in the form of cracking door codes with iPhones, iPads spying on security guards and bumbling field agent Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) breaking into a prison's computer system to free all the prisoners – including Mr Hunt himself.
Hacking, shooting, driving fast, cool slow-mo explosions, Swordfish has it all. There’s even that scene where Wolverine, also known as Hugh Jackman, has to hack a mainframe (or some such cliché) but while being distracted by the tender attentions of a lady. Bet Mark Zuckerberg didn’t use that technique when hiring at Facebook.
Years before the tepid Tron: Legacy, the original Tron was actually cool precisely because of its unintendedly naive originality. Times were better before Jeff Bridges played the biogital Dude whose son is thrown into a video game to fight for his life. Lightcycles, spinning discs and neon-lit worlds (shot on 70mm film) made this the iconic sci-fi classic it still is today.
The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
This virtual-reality based film about a programmer who creates a world in which he is killed was made in the same year as The Matrix, and eXistenZ. There must've been something in the water. Think of The Thirteenth Floor as a noir detective version of its contemporary sci-hack flicks.
The Lawnmower Man (1992)
While the name might deceive you into thinking grass and Haytor engines are the main themes of the film, The Lawnmower Man is decidedly more sci-fi. When a scientist (Pierce Brosnan) decides to perform computer related experiments on a simple-minded gardener, things inevitably go wrong, creating a newly-minted genius with telekinetic and pyrokinetic powers. And a sex drive, apparently.