Spy Game Review and Blu-ray Features
21 Nov. 2001
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Views from Brad Pitt
When the film was previewed in the summer of 2001, Brad Pitt said that it dealt with blow back from unsuccessful CIA operations and suggested that it might mean America had been the world’s leading power for too long. However, after the 9/11 attacks, Pitt was quoted as saying the movie indicated that CIA operatives were needed “now more than ever”.
In another universe, could this be a sequel to three days of the Condor
I’ve always enjoyed imagining that Muir here is the end of the career that started with Joseph Turner working as an analyst way back when.
‘It appears you underestimated Bishop’s feelings for her’
The way that CIA guys says “It appears you underestimated Bishop’s feelings for her” to Redford is awesome. The music behind his voice and the creepy look of the guy, remind me of the design of some scenes in Fight Club.
Also, this scene slams us with new information that shows what a callous patriot Muir is, trading chess pieces to gain advantage. A dark twist very close to the end of the film. Makes Muirs character and job appear more complex and less comic book.
The film’s pretty stylish with some beautiful moments. Redford driving the porshe is a nice touch.
And Brad is so the man for going into China to get his girl back. Full props for that.
Yeah, there’s a great understated quality to that statement. Great line, great scene.
I just watched that scene again and thought the same thing that Muir was taking the blame for Hadley’s trade on him self. I too noticed to look on the other officials in the office and thought about it.
A white guy as spy in china??
Am I the only one who cant see this happening? China has a population of virtually 100 percent chinese. Even a non chinese asian going there will probably met with suspicion, let alone a non asian guy.
Bishop went into the prison as a NGO (non government organization) or some such thing to attend to the supposed cholera outbreak. It’s plausable.
Bishop was posing as a Foreign Aid Worker and the visit to Su Chou prison was to combat an outbreak of Cholera. So yes, I can see this happening that a Foreign Aid Worker in China would be white.
Also, the Chinese and US were in Free Trade talks at the time, which would be another cover to have white agents operating there.
They invaded CHINA??
Let me clear it up for you. There was no invasion of China. That was a covert CIA operation to jailbreak an agent from a nearby Marines base. They had cut the power so their choppers wouldn’t be detected and bribed the people involved.
Those weren’t Marines. Those were Navy SEALs.
The mission was a snatch & grab where they flew into China under the cover of darkness and disabled radar to steal Tom Bishop from the Chinese.
It wasn’t an act of war, it was a covert operation.
Covert operations go on all the time, its just that we don’t hear about them cause we aren’t supposed to here about them.
still love it, after watching it for the gazillionth time
they are just showing it on cable and I still love the movie. can’t get enough of watching this duo Pitt/Redford. such a classic! how come I never get tired of this movie? 🙂 i think it’s not just the acting. it’s masterfully constructed. great action, great suspense, great sense of humor.
RT/Meta Critic Review
The performances are the biggest asset.(Click here to see)
An adventure that holds its own among the classics of the genre, a smart, sturdy and fascinating glimpse inside a hidden world.(Click here to see)
Unfortunately, it appears that Universal has simply repurposed the same problematic 1080p/VC-1 transfer that appeared on the 2006 HD DVD edition of Spy Game (itself a port of an old, troubled transfer minted for the 2002 Collector’s Edition DVD). It’s a cinch to overlook the fallout of Scott’s directorial choices — inconsistent grain fields, crushed blacks, rampant noise, and occasionally overblown contrast levels — but there are too many technical issues on hand to excuse the quality of the image altogether. Mild digital scrubbing has reduced the film’s intrusive grain, but stripped objects of their finest textures. Likewise, artificial sharpening has been used to refine many of Scott’s soft shots, but it occasionally produces garish, unnatural close-ups and hazy long shots haunted by thick edge halos. Furthermore, a general softness prevails in some sequences that could probably be resolved if the studio started from scratch with the original print. Add to that the series of minor scratches, nicks, and flecks that litter the picture and you have a transfer that requires a conscious effort to enjoy.
To its credit, the image boasts a strong palette, healthy skintones, and attractive, unwavering contrast. Blacks are also incredibly inky, depth is convincing, and overall clarity is passable in most scenes. In the end, Spy Game‘s Blu-ray transfer spits out an average high definition presentation. However, the film would have been better served had the studio started from scratch with a fresh restoration
Spy Game features an at-times rousing DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track that wrangles Scott’s shifting style and non-linear storytelling with cool efficiency. While a few lines sound a tad muffled in the mix, dialogue is generally crisp and well-prioritized (regardless of whether it’s being whispered in a hushed conference room or shouted over the roar of a gunfight). Rear speaker support is impressive as well: distant conversations, shuffling paperwork, and creaking chairs pepper a glass room with natural ambience, while the hum of car engines and the chatter of nearby crowds grant Berlin streets and Lebanese cityscapes a sense of authenticity. Precise directionality enhances the soundfield, slick pans create smooth channel transitions, and reliable low-end tones bless explosions and car chases with weight and presence. A trio of earthy thooms were weaker than I expected, but each instance struck me as an individual mishap in the original sound design rather than a technical deficiency in the lossless track. Ultimately, even though a complete overhaul might have ironed out a few minor kinks, Spy Game‘s lossless debut sounds great.
Arriving with the same solid, standard definition supplemental package as its DVD and HD DVD counterparts, the Blu-ray edition of Spy Game includes a decent (albeit dated) collection of special features that offer a relatively revealing glimpse into the production.
- Audio Commentaries: Director Tony Scott provides a reserved but informative series of observations about the casting process, location scouting, working with Redford and Pitt, and honing the final version of the film in the editing room. Producers Marc Abraham and Douglas Wick sit down for a separate track that digs into the particulars of the international shoot, the challenges facing the filmmakers, the script itself, and the director’s relationship with the cast and crew. It would have been nice had all three men been in the same recording booth for the same commentary, but this one-two behind-the-scenes punch will still satisfy fans of the film.
- Clandestine Ops Interactive Track: Rather than a PiP experience, this DVD-esque icon-hunt involves clicking a button every time a small graphic appears on screen. While you’ll be able to access short production featurettes, alternate scenes, and more, this sparse and sporadic track doesn’t offer users enough content to justify its existence.
- Deleted Scenes (SD, 6 minutes): Five cuts are offered with optional director’s commentary. The scenes don’t add much to the film as we know it, but they do fill in some negligible gaps with a few nice character beats.
- Alternate Scenes and Ending (SD, 14 minutes): The four alterations included are fairly forgettable and aren’t nearly as interesting as the scenes that made the final cut of the film. Ah well, at least Scott’s commentary bits are worth listening to.
- Script-to-Storyboard Process (SD, 3 minutes): Scott briefly discusses his affection for storyboarding his films.
- Requirements for CIA Acceptance: A simplistic five-page article of sorts about admittance into the CIA.
- BD-Live Functionality