When police arrive to arrest teenage hackers and phone phreaks Martin and Cosmo, Martin escapes while Cosmo goes to prison. Years later, the adult Martin (Redford) has become a technology expert of dubious morals, but is uncovered by government agents and given a choice of arrest or helping them.
With his team of talented hackers and agents, he decides to help the government recover a mysterious device and get himself out of trouble. But unfortunately the team find out what the device does - and from then on, no-one is safe and no-one is to be trusted.
And you'll enjoy every minute of it. This is an energetic, fun, almost enchanting thriller with genuine moments of tension and a good few thrills too. Robert Redford is excellent, as is the rather wasted but still splendid Sidney Poitier. Even Dan Aykroyd is unusually good.
Which makes it bewildering why the film isn't all that great. You can't help watching, you can't help getting into it and enjoying the chase, but it won't make anyone's top ten list. There's something odd about it, something not explained, that may reside within the huge holes in the plot.
Perhaps it's because the ending is funny and deftly handled that it takes you a moment to realise what utter rubbish it is.
"Sneakers" is on at 10.35pm, BBC1, Friday 15 December 2000.