Sneakers is a 1992 caper film directed by Phil Alden Robinson, written by Robinson, Walter F. Parkes and Lawrence Lasker and starring Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier and David Strathairn. It was filmed in late 1991 and released in 1992. The movie begins in 1969. A young Martin Brice (Gary Hershberger) and his friend Cosmo (Jo Marr) have broken into the university's computer and are gleefully playing pranks by hacking into other computer networks. Martin leaves to get a pizza, but while starting his van is shocked to see police cars pull up to the building. Although tempted to return for Cosmo, he ultimately leaves, watching a screaming Cosmo struggling and being dragged away by the police, abandoning him to his fate. Twenty years later, Martin (Robert Redford) runs a tiger team of "security specialists" that use unorthodox methods of testing physical and electronic security for companies in San Francisco. The team includes Donald Crease (Sidney Poitier), a former CIA agent and a high-strung family man; Darryl "Mother" Roskow (Dan Aykroyd), a conspiracy theorist with unsurpassed technical skills and dexterity; Carl Arbogast
Release Date: September 09, 1992
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The comedy caper thriller, a popular film genre that has faded in recent years, gets a tremendous shot in the arm with this first-rate government paranoia yarn, expertly directed by Phil Alden Robinson ("Field of Dreams") and bolstered by energetic performances from a dream cast. Robert Redford, loose and funny and seemingly having the time of his life, heads up a team of "Sneakers," high-tech security experts who are hired by big business to break into their companies and then help those industries beef up their security measures. But business isn't good, money is tight and tempers are short with Redford, whose character has a shady past, and his rag-tag team of social misfits Sidney Poitier, as a 22-year CIA veteran who left under mysterious circumstances; Dan Aykroyd, a gadget freak with conspiracy theories for every newspaper headline; River Phoenix, a young hacker who improved his own grades in high school; and David Strathairn, a blind audio expert. The plot has Redford being approached by U.S. government representatives or are they? who want him to steal a little black box that will decode certain computer information. But the job snowballs into much more than it initially seems, and it isn't long before Redford is framed for murder and forced to use his team's expertise to unravel a strange mystery that is wrapped up in the potential collapse of international finance and government security secrets. Mary McDonnell ("Grand Canyon," "Dances With Wolves") plays Redford's former girlfriend, reluctantly recruited to help, and the high-profile cast is rounded out by Ben Kingsley, as the sophisticated and sinister villain of the piece. What happens here is complex but it's never really so important as how it happens. Director Robinson has been working on this script for years (his co-screenwriters are Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes, who also did "WarGames" and "Awakenings"), and the care he's invested shows with clever dialogue and smart situations. He also pulls terrific performances from his incredible cast, though a few seem to have been clipped short. (Phoenix, for one, doesn't have a lot to do.) There is a message here about the dangers of government poking its nose into the private sector and perhaps about our computer age getting wildly out of hand. There are also some political swipes, as when Redford gives money to a homeless man who is complaining in the street, then points to a poster of President Bush and tells the fellow to "talk to him." But the emphasis here is entertainment, and "Sneakers" is a hilarious, tension-filled romp that should please any audience. It may also bring Redford and Poitier to the attention of a younger generation of moviegoers who don't know their work as well as they do Phoenix or Aykroyd's. And it provides a wonderful showcase for Redford's light comic abilities, which have been dormant too long. "Sneakers" is rated PG-13 for violence, profanity, vulgarity and sex, all handled very discreetly by today's standards.September 11th, 1992 · Details
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