Bank Secretary: So, people hire you to break into their places... to make sure no one can break into their places?
Martin Bishop: It's a living.
Bank Secretary: Not a very good one.
Robert Redford leads an ensemble cast in a lighthearted thriller that tries to be smarter than it is and doesn't work well enough with the elements that it has at its disposal, but is passable due to Redford's charm and its breezy nature.
Redford is Martin Bishop, leader of a crew that specializes in breaking into banks that have hired them, so they know how to beef up their security.
The team includes what are essentially stock characters: Sidney Poitier as the old ex-CIA pro, David Strathairn as a tech guy, who is blind, Dan Aykroyd as a conspiracy theorist, River Phoenix as the rookie kid, and Mary McDonnell as an old girlfriend.
The teams bites off more than it can chew when they are recruited by some mysterious folk to find a particular item. Around the same time this item is discovered to be an ultimate code breaker, the team learns these guys are bad folk, being headed by a slimy old pro played by Ben Kingsley, who has a past involving Redford's character.
The team is forced to go through a number stealth cons, heists, and other secret missions using techy equipment to help them out.
The whole thing is essentially a heist story mixed with what was at the time intriguing uses of high tech equipment to add something new.
What the film lacks is a real way to show off what makes this stuff very cool or exciting. It tries to be both breezy and a thriller but it only succeeds at points. Some are played to lightly and others try to be to involved in the thriller aspect. Then the ending tries to go the action route, piling on cliches and a final ending that also feels too breezy.
The characters are also where the film suffers. There is enough A-talent involved to have a good movie, but the characters never become interesting enough, except for when the plot requires them to be of use.
Still, the film is well made, uses its high-tech thriller plot to work as a form of general entertainment, and does feature a talented cast that is effective enough for what they are given.
Mother: Okay, boss, this LTX-71 concealable mike is part of the same system that NASA used when they faked the Apollo Moon landings. They had the astronauts broadcast around the world from a sound stage at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernadino, California. So it worked for them, shouldn't give us too many problems.