Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sneakers (1992) [PG-13] *****

Sneakers is a crime comedy, a psychological drama, and a rather violent spy thriller. Martin Bishop (Robert Redford) heads a firm of private investigators that specializes in testing bank security systems by disabling those systems and actually breaking into the banks. His team is made up of an unusual assortment of computer/cryptography talent including former CIA agent Donald Crease (Sidney Poitier), conspiracy theorist Mother (Dan Aykroyd), blind digital sound effects wizard Whistler (David Strathairn), and street-wise thief Carl (River Phoenix). As Martin's girlfriend Liz (Mary McDonnell) quips: you don't have a business, you have a boys' club.

Then one day, two men, (Timothy Busfield, Eddie Jones) purportedly from the National Security Agency, offer Martin an interesting job... to steal a little black box, containing a very powerful cryptography tool, designed by a theoretical mathematician (Donal Logue). At first, Martin turns down the offer, but the men are very persuasive, and they know some things about his past that leave Martin no choice but to accept. Actually stealing the device turns out to be surprisingly easy, but then, while Martin and his team are waiting to turn it over to the NSA, they start playing around with it and discover that it's not just a code breaker... it's THE code breaker, and as Crease observes: there isn't a government on this planet that wouldn't kill us all for that thing.

Despite a few plot holes, and a somewhat dated appearance, technology-wise, Sneakers is still pretty entertaining, especially if you can downshift quickly from comedy to mayhem. The supporting cast includes Ben Kingsley, Stephen Tobolowsky, George Hearn and James Earl Jones. The acting talent assembled for this film is amazing, and it's obvious that they all had fun making Sneakers. If you enjoyed BanditsOcean's Eleven, and The Italian Job, you'll definitely enjoy Sneakers.

Labels: action, comedy, crime, mystery, spy, thriller
Internet Movie Database
Tomatometer (critics=81, viewers=80)