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Paul Feig
Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Allison Janney
Writing Credits:
Paul Feig

A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.

Box Office:
$65 million.
Opening Weekend
$29,085,719 on 3,711 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R/Unrated

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Only)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min. (R-Rated Version)
131 min. (Unrated Cut)
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 9/29/2015

• Both Theatrical and Unrated Cuts of the Film
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Paul Feig, Director of Photography Bob Yeoman, Gaffer John Vecchio, Producer Jessie Henderson and Fight Coordinator Wally Garcia
• “Redacted Scenes”
• “Classified Alternate Scenes”
• “Top Secret Gag Reel”
• “Extra Top Secret Behind the Scenes Gag Reel”
• “Director of Intelligence Feig Makes the Cast Do His Bidding”
• “Susan and Her Men”
• “Super Villain Rayna Can’t Keep It Together”
• “Super Vermin”
• “The Many Deaths of Anton”
• “The Trouble With Covers”
• ”The Great Rick Ford”
• “For Your Eyes Only: Jokes-A-Plenty”
• “The Handsy World of Spies”
• “Speaking Is an Art Form”
• “Super Villains of the Animal World”
• “How Spy Was Made” Featurette
• Gallery
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Spy [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 6, 2015)

Over three films with director Paul Feige, actor Melissa McCarthy has seen her screen presence grow. In 2011’s Bridesmaids, McCarthy had a moderately small part, but she made the most of it. That became her breakout role – and she earned an Oscar nomination for it.

2013’s The Heat elevated McCarthy on the marquee, but she still couldn’t quite crack the top. With much more established star Sandra Bullock on board as well, McCarthy had to settle for second-billing.

2015’s Spy finally plops McCarthy at the top of the cast list, without any competition along for the ride. Its $110 million US gross seems good enough to keep her there as well. Granted, that total doesn’t establish McCarthy as a dominant figure, but it still shows that she can sell a movie as the unquestioned lead.

Illicit arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) kills secret agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) and reveals that she knows the identities of his colleagues. In response to this, the CIA sends in an unlikely party: analyst Susan Cooper (McCarthy). Though she went through weapons training like other agents, she’s remained desk-bound for years, so she’s never used those skills.

Susan’s career leaves her anonymous, which means CIA Deputy Director Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) agrees to let her go undercover. Helped from Langley by fellow analyst/pal Nancy Artingstall (Miranda Hart), Susan heads to Europe to track Rayna and stop nuclear disaster.

When paired with Feig, McCarthy seems to excel. When left on her own, she struggles, as flicks like Tammy and Identity Thief have offered pretty terrible comedic experiences.

I don’t think I’d call Spy the best of the McCarthy/Feig collaborations, mainly because I really like The Heat. That said, it stands as a strong second place, and it creates a fun riff on the James Bond template.

To my surprise, Feig handles the action/intrigue side of Spy well. The writer/director resists the urge to turn the film into an obvious spoof. While it clearly has fun with genre tropes, it doesn’t devolve into wacky parody. I can’t say it plays things straight, but it still attempts a real secret agent story and holds up that side of things well.

Of course, the comedy becomes the main attraction, and that part of Spy succeeds as well. Expect plenty of laugh out loud moments, many of which comes from the interactions between McCarthy and Byrne. They combine awfully well and show sparks when the film mixes Susan’s sauciness and Rayna’s arrogant world-weariness.

Other facets of the cast add zing as well. Jason Statham delivers a delightful turn as the self-proclaimed world’s toughest agent, and Janney brings pep to her handful of scenes. Despite a terrible attempt at an American accent, Law also adds some life to the proceedings.

Spy doesn’t lack flaws, as it probably runs too long and occasionally drags. Still, it offers a satisfying mix of comedy and action.

Footnote: watch the end credits to see hints of other missions Susan accomplishes. Also, a tag scene shows up after these credits.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

Spy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a positive presentation.

Overall definition looked good. Though a few wide shots showed mild softness, the majority of the film appeared accurate and concise. I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes stayed absent. No print flaws cropped up either.

Though Spy offered a pretty standard orange and teal palette, at least it could claim to use those hues to parody modern action flicks. Whatever rationale one swallows, the colors looked fine. Blacks were dark and deep, and low-light shots showed good clarity and smoothness. I felt pleased with this fine image.

Given its moderate action orientation, the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 opened up more than one would expect from a comedy. Though the film didn’t include as many slam-bang set pieces as a typical action flick, it brought out some good sequences. When the track needed to expand during car chases, gun battles and the like, it used the full spectrum well.

Elements were properly placed and moved about the setting in a convincing way. The surrounds contributed a nice sense of space and involvement. Music depicted positive stereo imaging and the entire presentation offered a good feeling of environment.

Audio quality fared well. Speech was accurate and distinctive, without notable edginess or other issues. Music sounded full-blooded and rich, as the score was rendered nicely. Effects showed good range and definition. They demonstrated solid low-end and were impressive across the board. Ultimately, this was a positive track.

The Blu-ray offers both the film’s theatrical version (2:00:06) as well as an unrated cut (2:10:22). Based on my memories of seeing Spy on the big screen, I think the vast majority of the extra 10 minutes comes from extended scenes. It appears a bunch of sequences run longer in the unrated cut, and those account for the main variations.

Do any totally new sequences appear? Based on memory, none that I could detect. It’s possible that some wholly fresh pieces pop up here, but if so, I didn’t discern them. The extended cut seems to stick with extensions of existing scenes.

This means I prefer the theatrical cut. Even that one runs a bit long, so an added 10 minutes makes the movie drag. Some funny material appears, but I think the shorter/tighter version works better.

Next we get an audio commentary from writer/director Paul Feig, director of photography Bob Yeoman, gaffer John Vecchio, producer Jessie Henderson and fight coordinator Wally Garcia. All five sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/character domains, sets and locations, action and stunts, music, editing, cast and performances, various effects and connected topics.

With so many participants in tow, the commentary could’ve become a mess. Happily, it stays on target. Feig acts as ringleader, but all involved manage to produce a mix of useful notes. We find a good overview of the elements related to the production in this peppy, fun track.

Like other Feig movies, Spy comes packed with cut footage. Three Redacted Scenes last a total of three minutes, 13 seconds, as we find “On Lady Nancy’s Secret Service Version 1” (0:59), “On Lady Nancy’s Secret Service Version 2” (1:28) and “In a Sea of Secret Weapons” (0:45). The first two show more of Nancy’s attempts to guide Susan, while “Sea” lets us see Nancy try to find a target. None of these stand out as great, but they amuse.

15 Classified Alternate Scenes occupy a total of 31 minutes, 51 seconds. As indicated, these offer different takes/lines for segments that show up in the film. Some are funnier than others, of course, but all deserve a look.

Two similar components appear next. We get both a Top Secret Gag Reel (6:39) as well as an Extra Top Secret Behind the Scenes Gag Reel (3:43). How do the two differ? The first offers typical goofs/giggles from the actors, while the former gives us silly off-camera moments. Because it includes some alternate lines, the first reel works best.

In the eight-minute, 53-second Director of Intelligence Feig Makes the Cast Do His Bidding, we see the director work with the actors. Feig feeds the performers lines and we see them try the dialogue. This degenerates into something of a gag reel due to all the laughing, but it offers an interesting view of the shoot.

Susan and Her Men goes for eight minutes, 18 seconds, as it offers more alternate takes. We see plenty of unused lines in this amusing compilation.

Next comes Super Villain Rayna Can’t Keep It Together. It runs five minutes, five seconds and focuses on Rose Byrne’s apparent inability to keep a straight face. Some alternate lines make it moderately interesting, but it’s too much of a gag reel to be particularly good.

More outtakes appear in the one-minute, 34-second Super Vermin. It shows the CIA analysts as they deal with rodents. It offers minor amusement.

Similar footage shows up with The Many Deaths of Anton. It takes up 57 seconds and displays alternate versions of that sequence. Expect more minor comedy.

In The Trouble With Covers, we get a two-minute, 28-second reel. It gives us shots in which the actors use the wrong character names. That makes it another gag reel, though the continued presence of alternate lines gives it some juice.

After this we get The Great Rick Ford. It runs three minutes, 42 seconds and delivers more unused dialogue, all of which relates to the Statham character. Many of these entertain.

For Your Eyes Only: Jokes-A-Plenty occupies 13 minutes, 25 seconds with a whole lot more alternate lines. We’ve seen a few of these elsewhere, but we still find plenty of fresh material.

During The Handsy World of Spies, we find a one-minute, 52-second piece. It provides another form of gag reel, as it shows jokey intimacy among the actors. I can’t say it does a lot for me.

Next we find Speaking Is an Art Form. It lasts one minute, 57 second and shows more bungled lines. Has any DVD or Blu-ray ever offered this many gag reels?

Super Villains of the Animal World takes up two minutes, 19 seconds and gives us another gag reel. This one focuses on bugs and animals that disrupted the shoot. Man, I’m getting burned out on the goofs!

For behind the scenes material, we go to How Spy Was Made. It breaks down into eight smaller segments with a total running time of 46 minutes, six seconds. Across these pieces, we hear from Feig, Garcia, hair designer Sarah Love, editor Brent White, stunt coordinator JJ Perry, production designer Jefferson Sage, property master Deryck Blake, stunt doubles Stacey Howell, Timea Bardi and Zoltan Hodi, stunt rigger Henry Kingi Jr., special effects supervisor Yves De Bono, 3rd AD Norbert Vilonya, makeup designer Trefor Proud, special effects technician Gergely Glovotz, and actors Jason Statham, Bobby Cannavale, Melissa McCarthy, Miranda Hart, 50 Cent, Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Julian Miller, Peter Serafinowicz, Richard Brake, Nargis Fakhri, Mitch Silpa, and Adam Ray.

The clips cover Feig’s impact on the production, cast/characters, performances and improvisation, stunts and action, various effects, sets and locations, hair, makeup and costumes, and other production elements. The featurettes vary in quality, as some offer fluffy goofiness while others deliver good filmmaking information. All together, they create a fairly interesting picture of the shoot.

In addition to the film’s trailer, the set ends with a gallery. It shows 30 stills that mix movie images and shots from the set. It becomes a decent compilation.

At least one Easter Egg pops up here. From the main menu, click to the right of “Extras”. This brings up an image of singer Ivy Levan’s rendition of “Who Can You Trust”, the tune that plays over the opening credits. It’s a perfect “Bond song” that’s better than a lot of real 007 themes.

A good mix of action and comedy, Spy gives Melissa McCarthy a fine showcase for her talents. Though the film runs too long, it still offers solid entertainment. The Blu-ray brings us positive picture and audio along with a nice array of supplements. Spy becomes a fun ride.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 6
4 3:
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