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Spy (Blu-ray Review)

SpyQueen of Comedy Melissa McCarthy “in her funniest movie yet” (Leonard Maltin, LeonardMaltin.com) embarks on the mission of a lifetime as secret agent Susan Cooper in SPY. The September 29thBlu-ray release will include two versions of the film – Theatrical and never-before-seen Unrated Cut.  The DVD will feature the Theatrical version.  Both the Theatrical version and Unrated Cut of Spy will also be available on Digital HD September 4th. The global ensemble cast features Jason Statham, Jude Law and Rose Byrne who deliver hysterical performances in this summer blockbuster hit that totaled over $100 million in the domestic box office. The movie was adored by critics who gave it an astounding 95% fresh rating on RottenTomatoes.com.

Spy 5

Film 

Desk-bound CIA analyst Susan Cooper is about to become the world’s newest — and unlikeliest — secret weapon. When her partner falls off the grid and another top agent is compromised, Susan volunteers to go deep undercover and bring down a deadly arms dealer. Loaded with wise-cracking action and adventure, SPY is a mission impossible to resist!

We’re in the midst of the most spy-riffic cinema year since probably the heart of the 1960s.  Fittingly enough, we’ll have the grandaddy of them all returning later on with James Bond in SPECTRE.  This parody/comedy, starring Melissa McCarthy, was the second spy film released in 2015, following on The Kingsman that had come out earlier in the year (Which I pretty much loved).  And, thankfully, Spy not only is a step up from the last Feig/McCarthy film The Heat, but it continues on the high quality spy film, grabbing the torch from Kingsman and running to hand off to Rogue Nation.

Melissa McCarthy once again shines quite well with her physical humor and dirty improv dialogue.  However, this time she’s actually given a very good character to work around.  She doesn’t have to try hard to elevate the person as they are rock solid on paper.  I really enjoyed how with her background that Susan Cooper can handle herself quite fine, she’s just never got a chance to be in the field.  While there are some comical action sequences to boot, she has competence and is rarely doofily getting through to the next set piece.  Its refreshing to see for a comedy or spoof to take this route with focusing on a more serious story that is fully realized and just plugs a bit of a wild card into it.

Not only McCarthy gets to shine though.  The movie opens up and allows her co-stars to shine and surprise.  Rose Byrne has to be one of the most underappreciated actors in both serious and comedy.  She delivers on a more straight-person level here in the film, but brings with it its own sense of humor.  Byrne really should be a name-above-the-title on a poster performer and its a shame she’s not.  Jason Statham is the real scene stealer here though.  I found it funny that he is used in a similar fashion that he is in Furious 7 where he just pops up when you’re not expecting it.  Its the perfect role for him and for him to humorously play a kind of version of himself.  And, how damn funny was he in that wig, sunglasses and mustache at the club?  Holy hell.  Please get the guy some more comedic roles, he killed it on this outing.

Spy is fun enough that you forget you’re watching a film that pretty much is a spoof.  There’s a competence from the script and directing that allows it to join the pack with its touch being humor instead of constantly poking at tropes.  Even the tropes don’t sit and distract when they’re introduced, as they are more natural.  All the performances here are everyone at their best, though I wish Morena Baccarin would have got more screen time (So easy on the eyes), but they gave me plenty of Rose Byrne.  This almost is a weird series of buddy comedies put together in one movie if you think about McCarthy’s different dynamics with each co-star.  Anyway, lots of fun, McCarthy haters shouldn’t even fear this one.  Its a great time!

Spy 1

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail:  Spy sports quite the dynamic image.  The image is sharp and crisp.  Detail is very high, be it from the polish on the chrome of a gun, to the brissle on a rope to paneling on the interior of a plane, you have no worry this transfer is getting the job done.

Depth:  The film does give a nice spacey feel.  Characters move around with an impressive amount of smooth naturalness.  Background imagery is very detailed when focus allows.

Black Levels: Blacks are nice and varied, with different aspects of shading highlighting its presence.  Detail is not hidden, no crushing at all and you can make out patterns and textures on clothes, surfaces and hair.

Color Reproduction: Funny enough, the film doesn’t have vibrant colors all over and is more in league with blacks.  But, that doesn’t stop it from popping the colors that do come out to play when they are a purple bow tie on an outfit or being the green felt on a gaming table.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and stay with a constant look throughout.  Facial details are extremely good as stubble, make-up lines, wrinkles, eye color, lip texture and all sorts of detail can be made out from any distance.

Noise/Artifacts:  Cah-LEAN

Spy 3

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, English (Commentary), Spanish (Commentary), French (Commentary)

Dynamics:  This is quite an awesome 7.1 track that brings this movie to life and consumes your living room/viewing areas.  Its loud, layered and quite dynamic, giving one quite the espionage adventure for your living room.  It may be one of the best “comedy” surround tracks ever.  Of course, yeah, the circumstances of its story help too.

Low Frequency Extension:  Explosions, gunshots, engines, helicopter blades, crashes…you name the action, its bumping.  Your subwoofer gives a terrific boost.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Gun shots fly all over the room from front to back and side to side.  Also you can catch traffic noises, crowd noises and other sounds from the rear and side channel speakers.  The front speakers carry the bulk of the work, and accurately depict onscreen action with accurate precision.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is always loud, crisp and catching every breath.

Spy 4

Extras 

Spy comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.  It also features the the Theatrical & Unrated cuts of the film.

The Filmmakers Tell You How Spy Was Made While You Watch The Movie! AKA The Commentary Track

Redacted Scenes (HD, 3:13)

Classified Alternate Scenes (HD, 31:51)

Top Secret Gag Reel (HD, 6:39)

Extra Top Secret Behind-the-Scenes Gag Reel (HD, 3:43) 

Director of Intelligence Feig Makes The Cast Do His Bidding (HD, 8:53) – Director Paul Feig throws out lines for the cast to say…basically more alternate takes.

Susan And Her Men (HD, 8:18) – More alternate takes.

Super Villain Rayna Can’t Keep It Together (HD, 5;05) – A gag reel that focuses on Rose Byrne losing her composure in various different scenes.

Super Vermin (HD, 1:34) – More alternate improv takes from the scene with the rats.

The Many Deaths of Anton (HD, :57) – MORE alternate line readings.

The Trouble With Covers (HD, 2:28) – Another gag reel.

The Great Rick Ford (HD, 3:42) – Sigh…more alternate takes

For Your Eyes Only: Jokes-A-Plenty (HD, 13:25) – You guessed it, Frank Stallone

Frank Stallone

The Handsy World of Spies (HD, 1:52) – Another cleverly titled gag reel

Speaking Is An Art Form (HD, 1:57) – You thought it was over, but NO…ANOTHER GAG REEL!

Super Villains Of The Animal World (HD, 2:19) – Gag Reel Part IX: Your Sister Is A Gag Reel

How Spy Was Made 

  • Paul Feig: Alt-P (HD 11:08) – The cast talks about working with Paul Feig mixed in with on-set footage of him at work.
  • Indecent Proposals From The Cast (HD, 3:04) – Paul Feig and the cast talk about their input on storypoints, lines and jokes in the film.
  • Changing Statham (HD, 5:45) – This one discusses the action icon making the move over to a more broad comedy film.
  • Stuntarama (HD, 13:28) – A piece on the stunts and action set pieces in the movie
  • In Da Klub (HD, 6:26) – Focuses on the club scene with 50 Cent and how the story fits with it.
  • Susan’s Disguises (HD, 4:31) – A pieces on the different mock ups for Melissa McCarthy in the film.
  • Odd Couple On Set (HD, 4:50) – A featurette on the relationship of Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig.
  • No Go Gadgets (HD, 3:36) – The CIA office workers come up with random gadget ideas from their office supplies.

Gallery (HD, 2:33) – Promotion, behind the scenes and stunt fx photos.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:52)

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Summary 

Spy is another winner for the Feig and McCarthy combo and easily McCarthy’s best since her break out in Bridesmaids.  The film not only once again bolsters the talents of the superstar, but also is able to highlight her co-stars very well too.  It also features some pretty cool action, to boot.  This Blu-ray has a terrific audio and video presentation, making sure your viewing is top of the line.  The extras on this disc are absolutely exhausting (How many alternate takes/gag reals do you need?) and could have been condensed, but you get what pretty much feels like all the daily footage from the film.  This release is definitely an easy one to pick up.

Spy-Blu-ray

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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