Spy (2015) Blu-ray Review: License to Laugh

When the whole world is in danger because a suitcase nuke falls into the wrong hands, whom does the CIA turn to? The dashing and debonair Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law), of course. But when the villainous Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) kills Fine and the identity of all the field agents is comprised, who is left to turn to? With no other choice, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), a CIA employee who assisted Fine from her desk at the agency’s Langley headquarters, is given the assignment and great hilarity ensues.

Spy delivers a lot of laughs, and just from McCarthy. The whole cast is wonderful, embedding themselves within the characters and saying some absolutely ridiculous dialogue that, as revealed in the extras, Feig occasionally throws at them during shooting. Without question, Jason Statham steals every scene he is in his revelatory performance as CIA Agent Rick Ford. He is sure to get more comedy work after this because he clearly has the chops.

McCarthy’s Susan is a character that becomes endearing. Timid at first, and a little clumsy, but her sense of duty and unrequited love for Bradley allows the character to grow as she adapts to the dangerous situations. Her covers start with one silly, frumpy disguise after another, but eventually she gets to dress sophisticated like a worldly woman.

Spy is an action comedy and it doesn’t skimp on the former. Feig took that aspect of the film seriously, so there are plenty of fights and cars and explosions that one wouldn’t know weren’t from straight from a typical action movie. Naturally, some of the action scenes include comedy as well like Susan fighting an assassin in a restaurant kitchen or using a scooter to chase bad guys.

The Blu-ray offers the theatrical version and the unrated, which is 10 minutes longer. The video has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer as aspect ratio of 2.39:1. Colors are bright hues and objects offer fine details. The audio comes with an immersive DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track.

The disc is packed with hours of HD extras. Writer/director Paul Feig, cinematographer Bob Yeoman producer Jessie Henderson, flight coordinator Walter Garcia and gaffer John Vecchio deliver the commentary. Feig is also shown feeding lines in “Director of Intelligence Feig Makes the Cast Do His Bidding (9 min).The eight-part “How Spy Was Made” (54 min)looks at different aspects of production and profiles of Statham and the relationship between Feig and McCarthy.

There are a number of features devoted to cut material and bloopers and should have just been put all together as some only run two minutes. Some features focus on specific cast members, such as the montage of “Susan and Her Men” (8 min), “Super Villain Rayna Can’t Keep It Together” (5 min) because Byrne is to be a serial laugher; The Many Deaths of Anton (1 min) where Björn Gustafsson runs a bunch a lines as he dies, and thankfully The Great Rick Ford (4 min) because the world needs more Statham in this role.

Spy was one of the funniest films of 2015 and demonstrates that writer/director Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy are comedy partnership viewers can trust. The Blu-ray is definitely worth investigating.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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