Sneakers: Collector’s Edition

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Christopher Bligh

Plot: What’s it about?

In 1992, movies were seeing more big slumps than big scores at the box office. The summer had seen a few surprise hits along with a lot of duds that should have been big, In the fall, there needed to be a ray of hope. Robert Redford had not starred in a feature for some time and was attached to star in a tale of a man that’s hired to get a highly classified item for the government that no other agency seem to find. On the trail there is danger, twists and a blast from the past awaiting him. The mission can’t succeed without a team, a group of experts, a bunch that locate hard to find items commonly referred to as Sneakers.

Martin Bishop (Robert Redford) has a past that’s not worth going into. He went out for pizza while in the process of infiltrating a high class system within the government and as a result, a fellow friend in on it was captured and sent to prison. Years later, he’s up to some tricks with a security efficiency team that includes a conspiracy obsessor (Dan Aykroyd), a former CIA agent (Sidney Poitier), a young member excited by females (River Phoenix) and a blind man wired for sound (David Strathairn). One day, two men from National Security (Timothy Busfield, Eddie Jones) offer them a deal in exchange for clearing of all of their pasts to find a missing box that has a special purpose. This sounds like a simple task for the team and requires some outside assistance from an old flame of Martin’s (Mary McDonnell), but getting the box and accomplishing the mission is only half the battle where Martin confronts many secrets, the special purpose of the box and his past catching up to him at every corner.

This is a caper tale with a team that preceded the IMF team of the big-screen Mission Impossible movies and with their teamwork, it’s a fun little tale that is complete with checking your brain at the door and watching a twisty tale that is all in good fun. The ensemble work extremely well even in the most far-fetched circumstances, but when push comes to shove, it isn’t without entertaining. Yes, the audience can see some of the twists a mile away. Yes, you can see where the story is headed, but so what? Sometimes the purpose of some movies are to take you into another world not so thought provoking and head you down the path of a team that you care about and see what happens next to that team.

There are many older high credibility actors and actresses in this film and they make the most of the light script and the serious but fun enviroment that it’s hard to resist and in turn makes for a very entertaining hole-filled film.

**Note- Check for Donal Logue from Grounded for Life and I Love the 80s fame in one of his earlier roles around his MTV days, as a mathemetician in the film.

Video: How does it look?

This is the second time this film has been released anamorphically in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and the differences are not many. This is not a bad thing as both transfers are solid throughout presenting a sharp picture and the quality of the print does not oversaturate any colors and there is very few spots of grain and speckly shots in the film. A very good transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

As with the previous transfer, the Dolby Surround 2.0 track spaces out the dialogue, score and effects on all channels with the dialogue dominating on the center channels and the score and effects spreading on all channels. The result is crisp and clear without any evidence of muteness or any nineties overblaring of sound but with a nice touch of bass. A good track. This disc also has Spanish and French Dolby Surround as well as English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The one difference in it’s previous release is it’s lack of extras, except for some cast bios and a trailer (and a damn good one). Well they are on this disc as well as a commentary by director Phil Alden Robinson and producers Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes (not listed on the DVD cover). All three men together provide an informative track of getting the project off it’s feet to be greenlit as well as being self-depricating indicating what worked and what didn’t. With commentaries and multiple participants, I clamor for the days where the caption indication of the person was second nature and not a once in a while occurence and where I hoped for one here, despite that missing element, it’s a very good commentary track throughout the entire piece.

Next is the featurette The Making of Sneakers, which at first thought would be a fluff piece from the time when in actuality it’s more from present day with the three wise men that made Sneakers possible providing some more info as well as some of the same as well. It’s a great addition but one that could’ve been outstanding with some participation by some of the cast reminicing about their experience on this fun venture.

And once again, there are cast bios along with a solid theatrical trailer.

In it’s second release, Sneakers provides a little bit of the same with a notch up boosted by a very good commentary and featurette making for a good trade in from it’s original release and a definitive version of the film.

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