003778Reviews & Counting
Spy Game
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Spy Game order
Tony Scott

Robert Redford
Brad Pitt
Catherine McCormack


star Printer-Friendly version
Brad Pitt is Tom Bishop, a CIA operative whose sentenced to die in a Chinese prison when a top secret mission goes horribly wrong. With little to no hope for his survival, his old boss Nathan Muir (Redford) digs into every scrap of knowledge he has to convince the CIA to launch a rescue mission. Naturally, he's a day away from retirement...
Is this a good movie you ask? Is Brad Pitt handsome? Is Robert Redford a great man? The answer to all of the above is a resounding "yes". Shown primarily through flashback montages depicting the relationship between the two men, action is never lacking and the very mysterious world of the CIA and of international espionage gets tossed front and center for your very enjoyment. As you would expect from stars of Pitt and Redford's caliber, the performances are fantastic and both characters display their trademark charisma to which young and old, chick or boy, short or tall and fat or slim can fall for instantly. These two guys are basically just a pleasure to watch and they play their characters to a tee, giving their teacher-pupil relationship the edge it deserves. A strong supporting cast gives them some solid stuff to work off and the rest is history as they traipse around the world pulling off some pretty slick covert stuff in Vietnam, Berlin, Beirut and other place where everybody has lots of fun.

As usual, Tony Scott delivers on both action and suspense but the tension in this one is really what makes it go. With only 24 hours to work with to save his friend's life, Muir has to use every dirty trick in the book in order to battle the bureaucratic CIA establishment, who's more concerned with a potential PR scandal than with saving their man's life. Through the chronological order of Muir and Bishop's relationship, we're carried from one action-packed sequence to another. One of the emotional peaks of the movie is Bishop discovering that his job will require him to use and dispose of people like you and I do with paper towels. Following Muir's cold explanation of the reality they're living, you can slowly begin to make up your own mind on whether these guys are good or evil. It's not exactly clear cut and their personal lives take a beating. Bishop's love interests, played by the formerly attractive Catherine McCormack is a catalyst for potential disaster when Bishop gets a bit too involved with her while plotting an assassination in Beirut. I guess falling for the chick isn't exactly part of the plan when you're planning to have some dude's head blown off his shoulders. Definitely an interesting and extremely entertaining look into a world too often associated with shaken martinis and not often enough linked to it's brutal and cold reality.
You spoiled little brats will be even more spoiled when you turn to the bonus material section of this DVD. It all begins during the movie itself with a cool feature called "clandestine OPS". This little ditty will show you some icons during the film and at the touch of a button, you'll be able to enter these pop-ups for some extra info including "making-of"-type stuff, character bios and other cool tidbits. They're frequent enough to warrant a second viewing. The best part is t through the bios of the film's characters, you can learn a little bit about the hierarchy and functions of all the mysterious people who work for the CIA. ooohh... mysterious...

Next up, you can watch the movie another couple of times with two full-length commentary tracks. The first one features Director Tony Scott and is actually pretty regular. Aside fro the fact that the dude really sounds like Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flint, this won't particularly thrill anyone, but it's still much better than listening to a producer commentary track (those of you who know me know very well that I hate producer tracks). Next up is a producer commentary track (damn!). Basically, it's just a chance for the guys who dish out the dough to get their little taste of the public and give their opinion on the film. Marc Abraham and Douglas Wick are the dudes in question and although they're not as bad as others that I've heard, this is still very optional as a feature for you to listen to.

Following that is a 20-minute batch of deleted and alternate versions of scenes. You'll be able to check out 5 deleted scenes and 4 alternates of existing scenes. They're pretty cool and you get the option of watching them with or without Tony Scott's commentary. If it's your kind of thing, then you'll be happy with this one. Another segment hosted by Scott is a script to storyboards process featurettes. Lasting only about 2 minutes, this short bit features Scott explaining his method of working with his own storyboards and the processes that he goes through in order to prepare for a day's shooting. I guess every director works his own way, but it's still interesting to watch a it of the creative process explained in layman's terms.

The next item up for bid is a text feature detailing the Requirements for CIA Acceptance. I'm not sure how accurate this is since by the looks of this feature, even a jerk like me could become a super spy, but it's still pretty neat to see. It's still looks easier than getting a membership at Blockbuster. This is the first of a couple of text features, including Production Notes and Cast & Crew Bios.

Aside from the usual trailer, there are also some DVD-ROM features. I don't have the hardware to check them out but according to the booklet, they include a bit more behind-the-scenes stuff, some interviews and more...
Pretty impressive. This film really entertained me and kept me going for a good couple of hours. Pitt and Redford are a teat when they're on their own but when put together, some real chemistry develops and you can get a real kick out of it. With some high re-watch value and a nice DVD bonus package, I rate this one a strong buy!
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