Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 2/25/00
1992 (1998) - Universal
review by Brad Pilcher of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
125 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging,
film-themed menu screens, theatrical trailer, scene access (16
chapters), languages: English, French & Spanish (DD 2.0),
subtitles: English and Spanish
"There's a war
out there, old friend. A world war. And it's not about who's got the
most bullets. It's about who controls the information."
Sneakers is one of those films
computer geeks love. I should know this. I'm a computer geek. But
this film prevails not because it is full of techno-babble and
far-fetched intrigue. No, this film is full of characters you get
attached to. Robert Redford does what he does best (i.e. be a
charming leading man). Sidney Poitier (as the straight-laced ex-CIA
agent) is amusing, especially as he becomes frustrated next to the
conspiracy nut played by Dan Aykroyd. David Straithairn is somebody
you have to cheer for as the blind but resilient "Whistler".
When you pair these incredible actors together in such great roles,
you have a film that's going to score at least a few dozen points.
The plot can be a bit complex, but it boils down to a pretty simple
chain of events. Redford's character, Martin Bishop, has an
outstanding warrant from some 1960s computer crime. His buddy,
Cosmo, went down for the deed. Years later, Bishop (who has changed
his name) is the leader of a bunch of security experts that are
hired to break into banks and such, in order to find out where the
holes are. In the real world, these are called tiger teams and were
something of a fad during the mid-90s. Push comes to shove, and the
NSA ends up forcing Bishop and his team to steal a black box that
can supposedly break any code in the world.
From there, the proverbial "fit hits the shan", and soon
all traces of credibility get tossed. It doesn't matter, because the
film is light-hearted all the way through. The subject matter is
just exotic enough for us to be able to suspend our disbelief.
C'mon... it isn't like most of us make a day job of breaking
security for the NSA.
As far as the video is concerned, the transfer is of a high
quality. A few minor defects in the print were noticed, but that's
because I was looking. The anamorphic transfer does wonders, and the
general hues are very absorbing. A slight hint of color
over-saturation aside, this is a quality transfer that is just above
average for DVD. The audio is good, showing a considerable spatial
feel and bass for the 2.0 mix. No complaints on that end.
The extras are on the slim side, typical of these kinds of
releases. You've got the basic production notes and bios sections,
with a theatrical trailer to round everything out. The disc could
use some fleshing out. A few more extras would have been nice, and
the inclusion of a 5.1 mix would have been an obvious choice, but
it's not really all that necessary.
If you like the intrigue of spy films with a nice technological
mix, you'll like Sneakers. And
if you listen closely to Dan Aykroyd in this film, you'll find out
all the great conspiracies of the past 25 years!