One could argue that most teen movies approach the ages between and including 13 and 19 from an essentially conservative, institutionalized ritual-oriented perspective; Characters worry about the prom, grades, graduation, who’s dating who, and who’s a member of which clique. Meanwhile, the roster of cyberpunks running loose in “Hackers” – under aliases like Crash Override (Jonny Lee Miller) and Acid Burn (Angelina Jolie) — live very active existences largely disconnected from their secondary education. In this movie, high school is a time-consuming inconvenience, not a lifestyle. (The actual lifestyle, of course, is hacking.)
The plot is hardly realistic, but ’90s kids who forged their own somewhat untraditional path might find themselves identifying with “Hackers,” even if they never unraveled a global corporate embezzlement conspiracy and prevented an ecological catastrophe…or called themselves anything as stupid as “Cereal Killer” (Matt Lillard).