gaming since 1997

Spy Game

Nathan Muir (Redford) is a CIA agent who’s starting his last day on the job before retirement when he gets a call from Hong Kong. One of his former apprentices, Tom Bishop (Pitt) has entered a Chinese prison to liberate a woman but got caught. By the time he reaches his office, the CIA chiefs are aware of the situation, but instead of doing all they can to liberate Bishop they want to leave him where he is as involvement could threaten a commerce treaty between China and the US. Muir decides to take things into his own hands and starts preparing Bishops rescue.

Tony Scott has directed Spy Game and it shows. Although the movie is more about dialogue and intrigue, Scott constantly tries to make the film more dynamic by using nervous camera movement, much like we’ve seen in former movies of his like Enemy of the State. However, it might have been better if he would not have done this as it doesn’t improve the movie, but rather harms it. Throughout the movie, we get to see flashback which show how Muir and Bishop learn to know together and how their relationship evolved. This works very well and the acting of both Pitt and Redford is very good. If Tony Scott could have dropped his camera-action, this movie just might have been a full blown winner. Now it has to settle for being just “good”

Sound and Vision:
The flashbacks we get to see show parts of different missions Bishop and Muir performed in the past. Together with what is happening in the present, we get several different locations, and each of these has its own color palette. While in Vietnam mostly dark green and yellow are used, scenes in China are filmed with a blue filter. Berlin is very dark and brownish while the CIA office scenes have very bright colors. All these different styles are no problem for this DVD and therefor we can easily say that the image quality is very good.

The same goes for the sound quality. DTS and Dolby Digital are available, both having good use of all available channels including nice subwoofer bass with explosions and such. The DTS track is recorded a bit louder and therefor gives more warmth to the sound.

Loads of extras on this disk starting off with commentary tracks from Tony Scott who’s got loads of stuff to say about the production side of things, while producers Douglas Wick and Marc Abraham cover several different aspects of the film from casting over the locations to the finances for making the movie. Tony’s track is interesting but has quite a lot of empty spaces. The producers are more animated in their tellings, but give less interesting information. Covert Operations are a whole bunch of very short featurettes which give some information on a very specific subject including interviews with cast&crew and behind-the-scenes footage. Deleted and altered scenes are also present, just like an alternative ending. The image and sound quality of these scenes are all but good and there’s not much “alternative” about the alternative ending, “extended ending” might have been a more appropriate title. Commentary from Tony Scott is available.

CIA requirements gives you a couple of slides with text on what the CIA wants from people that would like to join their ranks. Next is a feature where we get a comparison between the storyboards and the end result along with commentary from Tony Scott on why and how he uses storyboards. Last we’ve got the movie trailer and a DVD-rom feature which doesn’t really appear to be a special feature as it’s just a link to the official homepage of the movie…

Good movie with great actors and interesting plot which missed a chance at greatness due to the Tony Scott patented camera movements (hey, a dialogue remains a dialogue, no matter how you film it so you better not ruin it by moving the camera all the time, trying to make it look like action). The extras are really nice and there’s loads of them. Definitely worth checking out

Our Score:

posted in: DVD, Reviews, Universal

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