Classic Intel: The Net - TV Review

'The Net makes a pretty good grab for the title of 'Most Boring 90's Thriller' and that people, is one crowded field'

One of the worst of the 1990's crop of lame techno-action-thriller hybrids, watching The Net for a second time ranks up there with chopping your arm off with an axe for the second time or other moments of bodily pain too wince-inducing to mention. Not thrilling enough to be a thriller, nor action-packed enough to be an action movie, the film ends up being a blasé attempt to generate net-paranoia before abandoning that track entirely in favour of third-act generic terrorist coup.

Bettered by both Hackers and Chain Reaction (all three films are within roughly a year of each other), The Net remains notable only as one of three films Sandra Bullock made between Speed and Speed 2 and for the fact that the Bullock on show here is a far cry from the self-aware and fairly funny one that appeared in Miss Congeniality just five years after this. Playing the typical Hollywood-exploitation role of 'hotty with a geek's job', Bullock is all over the place, muttering lines apparently to herself and swapping between being Lara Croft and someones anonymous secretary on a minute-by-minute basis.

Not though, that hearing John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris' script enunciated properly would make the film any better. When it's not relying on several pieces of exposition so heavy you could use them as wrecking balls to rid you of aforementioned unnecessary appendages, it instead resorts to numerous pointless MacGuffins. Initially, the film settles on a floppy disc (remember those?) before deciding that really, the bad guys didn't need that so much after all and instead settling on Bullock's identity deletion as the driving factor.

Support comes by way of bad guy Jeremy Northam, an evil-doer who is more doe than evil, not helped by director Irwin Winkler's 'nod-nod, winkler-winkler' moments designed to show his audience just how evil this smooth, sophisticated Brit in the middle of Mexico really is. The inevitable degeneration into a final chase sequence holds no threat, little thrill and but few brief moments of slow-motion action, ensuring The Net makes a pretty good grab for the title of 'Most Boring 90's Thriller' and that people, is one crowded field.

The Net was showing on E4 in the UK.

Look further...

'"The Net" is never quite as sleek and chilling as it might have been, but it gives the old story of a wrongly accused innocent a nerve-wracking 90's twist' - New York Times (Caryn James)


  1. When I first saw around the age of ten...I thought it was one of the most fantastically entertaining pieces of cinema I'd ever seen. Wish the film I saw as a ten year old still existed! Sadly, The Net in my 20s is a completely different movie.

    Although...Sandra Bullock on the beach is never harmful to the eyes..!

  2. Absolutely... on both counts! I too remembered this being much better than it actually is. And yes, although that scene is undoubtedly crow-barred in to get Bullock in a bikini, it's difficult to have a problem with the results!