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.

Robert Redford Dan Aykroyd Ben Kingsley Mary McDonnell River Phoenix Sidney Poitier

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.

Popular on Variety

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.


Production: Universal. Director Phil Alden Robinson; Producer Walter F. Parkes, Lawrence Lasker; Screenplay Phil Alden Robinson, Lawrence Lasker, Walter F. Parkes; Camera John Lindley; Editor Tom Rolf; Music James Horner; Art Director Patrizia von Brandenstein

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 125 MIN.

With: Robert Redford Dan Aykroyd Ben Kingsley Mary McDonnell River Phoenix Sidney Poitier

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