DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Spy Game, Blu-ray (2001/2009)

A deadly race against time with one of the two protagonists stuck in his office.

Published on June 6, 2009

Spy Game, Blu-ray (2001/2009)

Spy Game, Blu-ray (2001/2009)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Robert Redford
Director: Tony Scott
Studio: Universal 61106288
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 color 1080p HD
Audio: English DTS-HD MAster Audio 5.1, Spanish & French DTS 5.1, English DD 2.0 on extras
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Extras: Commentary tracks by Tony Scott, and with producers Mark Abraham & Douglas Wick; Deleted and alternate scenes; Clandestine Ops – go behind the scenes while watching the film; Requirements for CIA Acceptance; Script-to-storyboard process example; BD Live
Length: 2 hours, 7 minutes
Rating: *****

This suspenseful spy movie accomplishes considerable thrill and excitement with only the Brad Pitt character out there doing anything, while his former handler Redford is stuck in his CIA office on the final day of his career – he has retired. His former protege has been arrested by the Chinese as a result of a non-approved and failed attempt to rescue his girlfriend from a Chinese prison. Redford must battle both the enemies on the outside and his associates inside at the CIA in order to bring up the rescue of the two young people before the Chinese plan to execute the Pitt character. The main story takes place in 1991, but there are flashbacks to as early as 1975 – when the two men first meet in Vietnam – as well as cold war East Berlin (actually shot in Budapest) and Beirut, not to mention China.

While there are unavoidably some similarities to other thrillers, the pace is kept up very well and the two main characters are presented in depth.  The plot does become rather convoluted at times, though if I had more time I could have probably answered some of my questions about minor characters by simply hitting the Select button on the remote whenever a little Classified Portfolio icon appears in the bottom right of the screen.  That brings up a sheet with details on the background and activities of the various characters in and out of the CIA.  (I wanted to know more about one of the supposed past wives of Redford’s character, who was killed in some sort of CIA operation.)

The transfer looks terrific, especially on my new Oppo Blu-ray player now that I’ve tweaked the image a bit using the fine Spears & Munsil test disc. The lossless DTS surround track makes it possible to equal or improve on the sonic experience you get in most theatrical showings.

 – John Sunier

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