A slick, hip, liberal, hi-tech, all-star buddy spy comic caper pic, Sneakers serves up a breezy good time in the vein of some of toplined Robert Redford’s 1970s hits.
Film gets off to a good start with a mock break-in demonstrating the skill of Redford’s company in cracking security systems. His gang of underpaid but fun-loving experts sports a full complement of shady backgrounds: Sidney Poitier was fired from the CIA, Dan Aykroyd is an ex-con, David Strathairn is a blind wiretapping and audio expert, and River Phoenix changed his school grades by computer.
Two alleged agents from the top-secret National Security Agency enlist Redford’s services to recover a mysterious black box that turns out to contain a device that can penetrate the computer systems of vital services.
It turns out the boys are up against Redford’s criminal college cohort Ben Kingsley, who sees the box as a way to accomplish their student dream of changing the world, and to take revenge on Redford in the bargain.
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When issues grow into matters of life and death, viewer can be expected to take matters more seriously as well. Unfortunately, script’s second half can’t support a more sober examination, as too many issues are ignored or glossed over.
The film looks exceedingly expensive, and no doubt was. The big-time cast provides sterling company.