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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Sneakers [Blu-ray]


(Phil Alden Robinson, 1992)







Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Universal Studios

Video: Universal Video



Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:05:24.225 

Disc Size: 40,480,781,778 bytes

Feature Size: 37,720,055,808 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.98 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 14th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 4053 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4053 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

DTS Audio French 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), French, none



• Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Phil Alden Robinson
The Making of Sneakers (40:04)
Theatrical Trailer (2:52)





Description: Robert Redford leads an all-star cast in Sneakers, one of the most satisfying cryptography thrillers ever embedded with espionage and betrayal. Computer expert Martin Bishop (Redford) heads a team of renegade hackers including a former CIA employee (Sidney Poitier), a gadgets wizard (Dan Aykroyd), a young genius (River Phoenix) and a blind soundman (David Strathairn), who are routinely hired to test security systems. When government agents blackmail the “sneakers” into carrying out a covert mission of tracking down a top-secret black box, Bishop’s team find themselves embroiled in a dangerous operation. Along with his former girlfriend (Mary McDonnell), they make a stunning discovery - the device has the capability to decode all existing encryption systems around the world. With factions from all sides willing to murder for the box, Bishop and his team embark on their most dangerous assignment ever in this exhilarating high-tech caper directed by Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams).



The Film:

In this tech-thriller from director Phil Alden Robinson, a group of five renegade computer hackers, led by Martin Bishop (Robert Redford), are hired by the government to steal a black box, containing a code-breaking machine, from the mathematician who invented the device. The government is able to persuade Martin to take the job by convincing him that they will drop a decades-old federal warrant for his involvement in computer fraud. Martin agrees and he takes his team on the mission, eventually taking the box. Shortly after the hackers have stolen the device, the mathematician turns up dead. Before long, the quintet realize that they've gotten themselves into more than they'd originally bargained for, as Bishop's old rival Cosmo (Ben Kingsley) enters into the fold. The eclectic ensemble also includes River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, David Strathairn, Mary McDonnell, and James Earl Jones.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

This is a bizarre hybrid, a hi-tech caper movie with lo-tech charm; an action pic with incongruously mellow Californian pacing; a post-Cold War thriller with sassy wit. Redford heads a team of 'sneakers' - freelance tech-heads who execute computer heists to test corporate security systems. It's basically an old folks' operation, with crusty CIA vet Poitier, wild card conspiracy nut Aykroyd, blind genius Strathairn, and McDonnell as a mature femme fatale; only Phoenix guarantees the teen market. When Redford's radical past catches up with him, so do the intelligence goons, who want him to procure a black box, the ultimate hackers' McGuffin. The plot gets twistier than a Mandelbrot curve, leading to Kingsley as a slimy master criminal. A '60s-radical alternative to the 'flying glass' action pic prevalent in Hollywood, the film is sustained by a personable ensemble who generously trade off each other rather than grandstand. Right up to an ending designed to crack the sternest critical poker-face, this is gourmet popcorn of the highest order.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Sneakers arrives on Universal Blu-ray in North American after stints on HD-DVD, and BD elsewhere around the globe.  The transfer is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. Infused with many dark scenes, and limited locations - it was never a very striking film. Everything looks strong in its replication of the original appearance. There is no noise or artifacts of any kind.  This 1.85:1 Blu-ray has a nice realistic feel with a smattering of texture, colors look authentic and while the image is not really crisp, tight or exports substantial depth, I have no doubt it is an excellent transfer.





















Audio :

Universal use a very robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a massive 4053 kbps. There are effects but the big beneficiary of the lossless transfer may be in the music - a score is by the, recently deceased, James Horner (The Amazing Spider-man, Brainstorm, Alien, Wolfen) plus segments of Chopin, Bach, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis and others. It sounds impressive with depth and crispness. There are optional subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

Nothing new, but the same, reasonably interesting commentary with Writer/Director Phil Alden Robinson imparting details of the production. Also included is the old 40-minute Making of Sneakers with input from the filmmakers and cast plus behind-the-scenes footage. Lastly, there is a theatrical trailer.



I enjoyed revisiting this film in 1080P. Sneakers strikes all the right chords of twisting high-level security while glimpsing the clandestine world of the hacker/spy. There are interesting, eclectic, characters and the director adds a good pace - it's fun, exciting with an intelligent edge. The Universal Blu-ray is a disc you can revisit - superior to the old SD and definitely worthy as a 'keeper'. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 7th, 2015







About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze






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