TTM Success #35: Actor Peter Kim (Hackers)

I am mildly obsessed with the film Hackers. It’s a mid-90’s cyberpunk movie about a group of high schoolers, who also happen to be elite hackers, one of whom stumbles into an extortion plot. It’s a rollerblade-y upgrade to the “kids on bikes” trope starring Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, Matthew Lillard, Fisher Stevens, Loraine Bracco, and Marc Anthony.

It’s a great movie in the same way the first Fast and the Furious is a great movie. Like, it’s not going to show up on any AFI 100 lists, and I doubt there will ever be a Criterion Collection release. But, it’s fun, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it feels very much like the hopefully innocent times of the mid-90s. Hackers has spawned thousands of coders, designers, hackers and cyber security specialists. Taking the idea of “hacking the Gibson” to a professional level. It captures a time when we all had really rad internet handles like Cereal Killer, Lord Nikon, Acid Burn, and Crash Override. When, as Joey (who vassilates between “Master Blaster” and “Docotor Doom”) puts it, we need a handle, we’re nothing without a handle. Of course, shortly after, Cereal Killer exclaims that “WE HAVE NO NAMES, MAN!” But, as the former digital.disaster, I miss the days of having a real internet handle, of being the picked persona behind the name. But I digress…

There is a great community of Hackers fans, anchored by the fabulously active website A wonderful community that has reconnected fans with each other, and even some of the stars of the movie. One of the stars of the movie, though he features in only a handful of scenes, is Peter Kim, who played the hacker “Blade”, one of two “personalities” who were known for their pirated TV show called “HACK THE PLANET!” (Sponsored, obviously, by Jolt Cola). Blade, and his partner Razor, acted as a window to the larger hacking community in the film, as they were called on to “rally the troops” in the protagonists’ efforts to take down “The Plague” (played wonderfully campy by Fisher Stevens).

I’ve been chasing Hackers’ autographs for a while, since I found out that Renoly Santiago (who played Phantom Phreak, you know, the King of NYNEX) sold autographed floppy disks on his website. Since getting my Phantom Phreak autograph, I’ve really wanted to add more signed floppy disks. I came across Peter Kim’s manager’s contact information, and sent an email. His manager was delightfully accommodating, and I was able to send Peter a disk to get signed. I asked for the inscription to read “Don’t ask – Blade”, as that’s one of his most famous lines in the film. I assumed Peter would sign his name. But he didn’t. And that’s okay, because it almost makes this piece feel like a prop from in-world. Like, I can see this being a disk that Blade drops onto one of his l33t hacker friends with some hard to get information. Like the disk that Phreak leaves “in that place where I put that thing that one time”. It’s mysterious. It hints at a having access to things unknown. It is what it should be. I love it, because it’s uniquely mine, and I’m glad to have it.

Thank you, Peter Kim.

Author: paul

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