a critiQal film review Sneakers (1992)

Plot: Martin Bishop (Redford) leads a team of "security advisors". They are hired to break into secured buildings by the owners to test the security of those buildings. When Bishop is approached by the NSA to steal a mysterious black box from a prominent mathematician, he refuses. But, when the NSA threatens to expose his past, as well as the past of his team, he reconsiders. As the team gets deeper involved, however, they find themselves involved with in a deadly race for the little black box.

508 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 32s)
  • ...Redford leads an all-star cast through a pleasing lighthearted suspense film that is still enjoyable even years later, despite some rather dated computer imagery.

I first saw the movie Sneakers years back on good ol’ VHS. I had pretty much forgotten about it over the years, until seeing an advertisement recently for the Special Edition DVD of the film. I finally was able to buy it from a local store, and immediately brought it home and popped it into the player. With the good memories I had of the film still be true today, or had I over glorified my earlier memories of the film?

The all-star cast did a good job in Sneakers. Robert Redford took the lead (of course) and fleshed out his character well, while at the same time contributing a bit to the films humor. Sidney Poitier and Dan Aykroyd played off each other very well as an ex-CIA guy and a conspiracy theorist respectively. The late River Phoenix, portraying the youngest member of the team, also performs well and lends a sense of innocence to the group. David Straithairn rounds out the team as the blind sound expert, and also helps add to the lightheartedness the film tries to entwine throughout. Mary McDonnell as Bishop’s off-again love interest also does a decent job with her character and lends the film a bit of a subdued romantic undertone.

Ben Kingsley does a decent job as the bad guy but seems a bit under used, especially after seeing his performances in Schindler’s List (1993) and Gandhi.

The plot of Sneakers is a new twist on an old story line. Rather than having thieves stealing something, Sneakers focuses on a security team stealing something for the US. There are enough twists and turns in the film to keep the viewers attention, although some of these could have used a bit more build up, as the viewer may not be too surprised when a few occur, since they might’ve missed the small bit leading up to it.

These are in the minority however and the majority of surprises, coupled with the speedy pace of the film makes Sneakers enjoying and engaging to watch.

Some of the special effects of the film are a bit outdated as can be expected for a movie over a decade old. The computers, especially, showcase how far technology has advanced since this movie came out. The computers in the film represent an ancient relative of the computers of today and definitely date the film. Of course, this makes Sneakers interesting to watch from just a technological standpoint and it’s really surprising how far computers have come in so short a time.

With it’s all-star cast of characters, a new twist on an old plot line, not to mention it’s surprising twists and turns, Sneakers is definitely worth the while for any fan of lighthearted suspense films. Redford and friends do their best to keep you involved throughout the film and the humor interjected throughout is a nice tension reliever, yet doesn’t distract the viewer from the plot of the film.

So stop tip-toeing around and get yourself a copy of Sneakers today. You’ll be glad you did.

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