Spy (Blu-ray)

September 28, 2015 12 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

After 2014’s disappointing Tammy, Melissa McCarthy reunites with Director Paul Feig for Spy. This time she doesn’t have a female partner like she did in The Heat, as this is largely a solo effort. She does, however, share some great moments alongside Jude Law, Jason Statham and Rose Byrne in several scenes. I haven’t always been the biggest fan of McCarthy, but she has me totally sold here. It’s that rare action/comedy where all the elements work. If there’s a nit to pick it’s that the film runs just a shade too long (a common problem with films of this sort). Otherwise, you can expect plenty of laugh-out-loud moments here as well as plenty of replay value.

McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, she works for the CIA at a desk job essentially acting as the eyes and ears for the spies who work on the missions. We see her aiding Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on a mission as the film opens. She informs him of danger lurking around each corner and scopes the area as he takes out several men almost effortlessly. He’s after a man who knows the location of a nuclear bomb. As he approaches the man, Fine sneezes and accidentally shoots and kills the man. There’s a later plot development that I won’t dive into, but all these events (which happen during the first half of the film) lead to Cooper ultimately having to travel to Paris to spy on Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale). She then encounters Rayna (Rose Byrne) who is the daughter of the man who was killed, and she may know the location of the bomb. Along the way, agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham) tags along to secretly aid Cooper in the mission. He also doesn’t want his identity exposed. Admittedly, the plot sounds more complicated than it is, but is actually not half bad for a film that’s primarily a comedy first and foremost.

Director Paul Feig has now worked with McCarthy more than a few occasions that the two of them are a nice match. She and Sandra Bullock had great chemistry in The Heat, but McCarthy carries the anchor here largely on her own. She does great work, but the supporting cast all shine here as well. Statham, with his deadpan delivery is a big highlight. His character constantly brags about how he’s escaped dangerous situations that are all too insane to be believable. He’s so serious in his delivery that it’s part of what makes his character all the funnier because he doesn’t know he’s being funny. Rose Byrne is also ready for the challenge as she plays her role with the perfect amount of threat while also delivering amusing lines herself. I could go on, but one of the pleasures of the film is experiencing it for yourself. This review marked my second viewing of the film, but it remained as good as the first time. It’s been a while since I can honestly say I laughed out loud, but I did here on more than a few occasions. There’s a running gag about Susan being given an undercover identity as women obsessed with cats. It’s jokes like that that simply work. There are only occasional gross out gags, but thankfully they’re kept to a minimum. As mentioned earlier, the film is just a shade too long (even a bit longer in the extended cut), but that’s a minor nitpick as it remains a fun ride till the end. McCarthy will work with Feig again in the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot, and it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. If it’s anything like Spy, then we should have a real winner. The film is highly recommended.

Video: How’s it look?

We get another solid transfer from Fox as the image is flawless on all counts. The scenery is quite nice as the film shows us many parts of Paris. Colors remained strong, details apparent and the print free of flaws. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio. There’s really nothing negative to say as the film looks excellent on all counts, as it should for such a recent film.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track also shines. The film probably contains more action than one might expect, and it packs a punch. Vocals were always fine, but the rear channels remained active throughout. There are many shots fired, physical combat, and one involving kitchen utensils. The volume might have to be adjusted for the quieter scenes, but the track satisfies.

Supplements: What are the extras?

As usual with a majority of Fox titles, this is a case of quantity over quality as most of the segments here are only a few minutes in length. Still, there’s some good stuff tucked in, but it certainly looks more interesting at first glance than it normally is. This is a single disc release with a digital copy code tucked inside the case.

DVD Extras

  • The Filmmakers Tell You How Spy Was Made While You Watch The Movie! (aka The Commentary Track) – A lively group featuring Jessie Henderson, John Vecchio, Paul Feig, Robert Yeoman, Walter Garcia collaborate to discuss the finer points of the film.
  • Gallery – This is pretty self-explanatory as we get a collection of stills from the film.
  • Top Secret Gag Reel
  • Extra Top Secret Behind The Scenes Gag Reel – This is simply a collection of bloopers of the cast and crew goofing off on set.
  • The Great Rick Ford – This is essentially more outtakes featuring the Jason Statham character.
  • Susan and Her Men – Goes for a little over 8 minutes and highlights the male cast that Susan (McCarthy works with). This is mainly just random film clips.

Blu-ray Exclusives

  • How Spy was Made – This is broken into 8 smaller segments all detailing various topics.
  • Extended Cut – In addition to the theatrical cut, we’re treated to an extended cut. I opted for this version since I saw the film once in theaters. I couldn’t detect any notable changes, but maybe a few extended bits here and there.
  • Redacted Scenes – These 3 scenes are essentially alternate versions of a couple of scenes in the film. They’re good for a few mild chuckles, but nothing is essential to the plot.
  • Classified Alternate Scenes – Running just a tad over a half an hour, we’re treated to quite a bit of footage here. There are 15 scenes total here, and most of the stuff includes alternate jokes or lines. There’s some funny stuff here, but I feel fine with the jokes used in the final cut of the film. There’s a small subplot involving a character’s infatuation with a dress.
  • Super Villains of the Animal World – This is just over 2 minutes and takes a look at the animals seen in the film. It’s fairly useless.
  • Speaking is an Art Form – Just under 2 minutes and highlights some of the actors flubbing their lines. This is essentially another gag reel and didn’t really need its own section. It could’ve easily been part of the other gag reel featured.
  • The Handsy World Of Spies – Another short feature showing the spies in the film using their hands to get them out of tough situations.
  • For Your Eyes Only: Jokes-A-Plenty – Is another random assortment of alternate takes. They’re mildly amusing, but grow tiring after a while.
  • The Trouble with Covers – We get what is basically another round of outtakes.
  • Director Of Intelligence Feig Makes The Cast Do His Bidding – Coming in at just under 9 minutes, this shows subtitles on the screen of the Director asking the cast to repeat specific lines.
  • Super Villain Rayna Can’t Keep It Together – Clocking in just over 5 minutes, this shows Rose Byrne flubbing some lines.
  • Super Vermin – One of the running gags early in the film is the CIA office infested with rats. This short feature takes a look at that. It’s useless and nothing I’ll return to.
  • The Many Deaths of Anton – At only 57 seconds in length, don’t expect anything substantial. It simply features a string of alternate takes featuring the death of a minor character.
  • Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

By far the funniest film of the year, Spy works in large part to the strong cast, especially Melissa McCarthy who shows she’s more than capable of leading a film. One of the joys of the film is that it remains amusing even during the action sequences. It’s a shade too long, and a few jokes don’t land as well as they should, but otherwise comes highly recommended. I often look back at reviews I’ve written and will often wish I mentioned certain things that I didn’t. I’m sure that will be the case with Spy as there are so many moments worth mentioning, but sometimes with comedies, you have to see them for yourself. That’s the case here. The Blu-ray Disc features excellent A/V Specs and a ton of features. Many of them are short and insubstantial, but we get more than enough (especially the deleted scenes) to warrant a purchase.

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