A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Guest Review (JP) – Sneakers

Note: This review was written by the friend I am currently visiting.

I’m not the kind of person who should write movie reviews – I can’t remember actors’ names, or worse, I’ll mix them up. Directors? Can’t list more than four. And most unfortunately, give me too many characters at the beginning of a movie that aren’t distinct enough, I’m going to mix them up. This turns out to be a problem when watching Sneakers.

Sneakers came out in 1992, which means that I was too young to be in the target audience. That being said, I live with someone who probably has an FBI file from what he did in high school (you can refer to the reviews of Hackers, minus the super-arcade and the Gibson.) So when I mentioned a few months ago to my partner that I hadn’t actually seen Sneakers, not all the way through, he thought it was preposterous. When A planned to come visit, given the blog was in full form by then, and we discussed what movies our collections had in common, I picked Sneakers because it was high time I sat through the whole thing.

As a result, I’ve come to realize that I’ve seen the second half of the movie several times. The first and second halves of the movies seem to be entirely separate to me. The first half, while necessary in part, seems unnecessarily complicated. I tried to multi-task while watching it, realized I was lost, and ended up having to pause the movie and go over plot points. Not a good sign for me or the first 45 minutes of the film.
So, here goes: Guy narrowly escapes getting busted for computer crimes, his partner goes to jail, main character runs away, comes back with a new identity later, and then gets pegged by Group 1 to steal stuff from a crazy math guy with super-80s fashion sense that breaks any cryptography of any sort – exceptions will be explained later, but it’s all BS and it’s movie computer magic, so I yell at it but let it go. Group 1 turns out to be not the government, but frames him for a murder (which is kind of random and not, IMO, necessary), and doesn’t kill him, which seems like it would make sense at the time. Now, given the Russian guy who is murdered – he’s not necessary. Other information is easily found that would tell us Group 1 is not the government, and if they wanted to frame the main character, they could just do what the Antagonist and Ex-Partner does later – show proof that he was involved in earlier computer crimes! But given the time period it comes from, and the social anxieties of the time, of course they had to throw the Russians in. But this whole generic white-guy fest blurs a bit into one for me, and not only do I not know who to trust – the key point of the movie – I’m having a hell of a time remembering who is who. It’s not until about now that everyone’s names start coalescing. Martin! Main Character! Okay.

The second part starts, to me, after Martin gets released from his kind-of-stupid kidnapping. Now it’s a heist film. Heist films are great! You’ve got enough characters, each playing their individual parts, doing their thing that they do best. Suddenly, the movie becomes interesting and I can follow it. I guess political mysteries are just not my cuppa. Anyway, they steal the magic technology back and all their super-technology is stuff I have installed on my netbook, and that kind of kills it, and in the end, James Earl Jones rewards them like a Grumpy Federal Bureau of Santa Claus, and it’s over.

In conclusion, I’ve now watched Sneakers all the way through. I seem to be missing the magic my friends see. It’s an early technology-war movie, which makes it kind of fundamental in some ways. If I want to watch a spy movie, there are better ones. If I want to make fun of modems and bulky beige consoles, I’ll watch Hackers, because it’s funnier.



April 18, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | | Leave a comment