- Best Known for the Fanservice: This movie was the first time Halle Berry went topless on camera. Most people remember this movie for "Halle's Berries" rather than the Xanatos Speed Chess plot.
- Critical Research Failure: Gabriel harps on the film Dog Day Afternoon and discusses how it should have ended. The film was based on a real event, and the ending is taken from what really happened.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A common criticism that most critics had with the film, with The New York Times' Stephen Holden describing the movie as "snide, rancid nihilism devoid of laughs".
- Evil Is Cool: Let's face it: Gabriel Shear is an awesome villain for a whole bunch of reasons. Refer to Magnificent Bastard below for a comprehensive list.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The film is based on the idea that America just needs to aggressively kill terrorists to stop terrorism. It came out in June, 2001, several months before the attacks of 9/11. In the ensuing War on Terror, the inadequacy of simply killing lots of people to stop terrorism became daily headline news, causing the film to seem rather painfully naive.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Every one of the core four would wind up playing a Marvel character: Jackman and Berry had done X-Men a year previously, John Travolta would play the villain in The Punisher (2004), and Don Cheadle would replace Terrence Howard as James Rhodes aka War Machine in Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie also has Vinnie Jones, who played Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand.
- Magnificent Bastard: The black ops operative who goes by Gabriel Shear is an agent who puts on the air of a charismatic, charming playboy who lives the high life, but underneath it is a man dedicated to preserving the supremacy and security of America by utterly destroying terrorists and dealing so much damage that nobody will dream of harboring terrorists again. Manipulating the hacker and hero Stanley, Gabriel sets up a complex heist to steal billions to fund his operation, murdering the Senator behind the program when the man betrays and tries to kill Gabriel. Gabriel sets up a robbery with hostages, murdering Stanley's ex-wife and kidnapping his daughter to force him to cooperate. Boasting of the need for misdirection, Gabriel fakes his partner Ginger's death, then fakes his own and escapes completely free to wage his own one man war against terrorism with no care for whoever gets in his way.
- Nightmare Fuel: The terrified expression on the young woman hostage struggling against her would-be rescuers... because she knows full well if they get her twenty feet from the bank she's gonna blow up.
- Signature Scene: If you ask anyone about the first scene that comes to their mind when they think of this movie, the answer will most likely be a variation of "Halle Berry shows off her rack".
YMMV / Swordfish