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In the early 90’s, Tsutomu Shimomura is celebrated as the top computer security expert in the U.S.. Formerly a computer hacker, Shimomura now owns a successful computer security company. He starts having problems, though, when he attracts the attention of infamous computer hacker Kevin Mitnick. Mitnick is known throughout cyperspace as the best hacker there is. He’s also managed to successfully evade capture by the FBI.
When Mitnick steals files from Shimomura, the security expert takes it personally. To make matters worse, Mitnick swipes a file containing a powerful virus that could give him control of air traffic control systems, banks, e-mail, and more. Fortunately, he doesn’t know what it is yet.
Thus begins an intense game of cat and mouse through cyberspace and across the United States. But will Mitnick be able to stay ahead of the FBI with Shimomura helping them?
“Track Down” is rated R for language and some sexual content.
You don’t have to be a computer geek to appreciate this story, but it certainly helps. There’s a lot of techno-speak about tracking users down, cell phone technology, etc. If you’re not familiar with it, the terms will go right over your head. However, you get the gist of what they’re talking about without much problem.
Skeet Ulrich is very good as computer hacker Kevin Mitnick. He captures just the right mixture of intelligence and arrogance that seems to be typical of the hacker elite. Mitnick spouts dialogue about how he’s a hero freeing information in the spirit of the First Amendment, but at the same time it seems that he’s motivated more by ego than a sense of justice. We also see his human side in this film. He is a celebrity among the hacking community yet he can’t seem to hold a relationship with people in the real world.
Mitnick’s nemesis is played by Russell Wong as Tsutomu Shimomura. Wong is excellent in the role. He displays a great mix of intelligence and arrogance as well while tempering it with a sense of responsibility. Mitnick and Shimomura are similar talents when it comes to hacking and security, yet they are on two very opposite sides of the law. It’s an interesting examination of what makes them so different.
Track Down does a good job of capturing the thrill of the cat and mouse game. As Mitnick and Shimomura chase each other, it’s an interesting game as one tries to stay one step ahead of the other. The resulting film is an entertaining, suspenseful drama. It stands out among cyberspace thrillers.
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