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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Spy

October 12th, 2015

Spy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Video on Demand


Spy is the latest collaboration between Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig. The previous two were hits, both with critics and with moviegoers. Does Spy complete the hat trick? And is the Blu-ray worth picking up?

The Movie

The film begins in Bulgaria, where Bradley Fine, a CIA agent, is on a mission. The mission goes south when he accidentally shoots Tihomir Boyanov. Normally this would be bad. However, Boyanov recently got hold of a portable nuke and was shopping it around various terrorist organizations. He was also the only one who knew where it was, so with him dead, the CIA won't be able to find it. Worse still, Boyanov's guard are on the way. Fortunately for Fine, he has Susan Cooper backing him up. She works in Langley, not as a field agent, but as a basement dweller observing Fine through his contact lens camera and infrared spy satellite. He's in a lot of trouble, but with her tech savviness, she's able to guide Fine to safety.

Once he gets back stateside, Fine takes Susan out on one of the most awkward dinners ever. The next day, Susan's boss, Elaine Crocker informs Fine and her that the nuke is still on the market, so someone else must have known where it was. The most likely suspect is Rayna, Boyanov's daughter. They have some intel on her location and Fine is sent to get her. However, Susan thinks the information is too convenient and thinks it is a trap. Fine, on the other hand, is unphased and plans to go ahead with the mission. Susan goes out for drinks with Nancy, her friend, and fellow basement dweller. Nancy tries to cheer her up, but it doesn't work.

Susan's life takes a turn when Fine goes out on the mission. It turns out Susan was right and it was a trap. Fine is shot while Susan looks on helplessly. Worse still, Rayna taunts Susan with the names of several other top agents.

Obviously the CIA has to do something about this, but since Rayna has the names of their top agents, Elaine Crocker has a problem. She can't send any of her top agents, not even Rick Ford, who is very eager to go on the mission. Susan volunteers. While she's never been in the field, she has all of the training. Ford is so appalled by the suggestion that he threatens to resign if Crocker even considers the suggestion. She is considering it and Ford does quit on the spot. It likely would have just been a suggestion, but Crocker looked into Susan's training and realizes she might actually have the skills needed to go out in the field. She was the top of her class in the computer and intelligence classes... and then there's The Event, which I'm not going to spoil here.

In fact, I'm not going to spoil anything else. Spy is amazing and you need to see it, especially if you are a fan of spy movies in general, or of Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig. It does have some of the same clichés as the films it is mildly mocking and the actual plot isn't as strong as some other spies films, nor are the action scenes. However, none of this is surprising and none of this is a deal-breaker, especially when compared to the film's strengths.

The number one thing the film has going for it is its cast. Not only is Melissa McCarthy as hilarious as usual, but the rest of the cast is also incredible. I think this is the funniest Jason Statham has ever been on film. They are not alone, as every cast member nails their part. I really hope Miranda Hart gets a lot more mainstream work here as a result of this performance. The script is also excellent and the satirical look at the spy clichés land really well. Susan Cooper is clearly a very skilled spy, but almost no one around her treats her with the respect she deserves. She isn't the butt of the jokes, for the most part. Instead, it's the people who doubt her that come off looking bad.

One last point... the Blu-ray has the theatrical and unrated versions of the movie. Sometimes the unrated label is pure marketing. This movie earns it. The language is racier, the action is bloodier, and there's about twice as much prosthetic penis. I think the theatrical version might be funnier, as the added elements tend to hurt pacing a little bit. Either way, neither version is substantially better than the other.

The Extras

The Blu-ray is loaded with extras, so much so that I'm not sure I'll remember to mention all of them. I can't just go in the order they are in the menu, because that's a mess. There are a dozen extras that are either outtakes or alternative scenes. Some of these are Redacted Scenes, alternative scenes, alternative deaths, which are all the same thing, just split up into three parts. There's a lot of them and they are fun to watch, but annoying to talk about. Then you have a Top Secret Gag Reel, Extra Top Secret Gag Reel, and another gag reel dedicated to Rose Byrne cracking up. There are two of these just on the animals. A lot of them are rather short, but combined they run more than an hour and a half. More substantially, there is an 8-part, nearly 40-minute making of featurette. Finally, there is an audio commentary track that was recorded with the extended edition, but also playable with the theatrical edition, with parts cut to match the extended scenes.

The technical presentation is excellent, which one would expect for a film that cost $65 million to make. It isn't the most visually flashy film I've seen on Blu-ray, but it is there are also no technical flaws either. The level of detail is strong, the colors a vibrant, etc. I have no complaints. Likewise, the audio is without flaws. The 7.1 surround sound track has dialogue that is always clear, while there is plenty of activity in the surround sound speakers. The level of dynamic effects is much better than the average comedy, although not quite up to the level of the average action film.

The Blu-ray costs $19, which is actually lower than the DVD.

The Verdict

Buy it. Spy is a must have. This is the funniest film I've seen all year and the Blu-ray is loaded with extras. I can't wait for Melissa McCarthy's and Paul Feig's next film.

Filed under: Video Review, Spy!, Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Allison Janney, Melissa McCarthy, Raad Rawi, Jason Statham, Paul Feig, Miranda Hart