Spy Game
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Spy Game is an attempt to make a John Le Carré-type spy story, and with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt as the stars, and Tony Scott (Top Gun, Crimson Tide, Enemy of the State) at the helm, it should have been great.  I know what you are thinking. Geoff is going to trash the absence of a decent script again.  Yes, but that is only part of the problem with Spy Game. It involves a veteran CIA agent (Redford) who, on his last day on the job before he retires, finds out that his protégé (Pitt) has been arrested in China while trying to arrange a prison breakout. The Chinese are planning to execute him in 24 hours.  Redford plays the usual maverick, loose-cannon spy who is hated and distrusted by all the other pencil-pushing geeks at the CIA who wish they were Robert Redford. You get the idea.  So, Redford has to try and find out what's happening and save Pitt in only 24 hours while the rest of the CIA tries to stop him.  This sounds fairly exciting but every time we start to get rolling on this plot, the film cuts to some flashback recounting a warm and fuzzy episode from the past involving Redford and Pitt.  While we'd like to know how Pitt and Redford arrived at this pass, the main plot slows to a crawl while we watch Redford and Pitt saving the world while drinking in bars from Vietnam to Berlin to Beirut.  It turns out that Pitt was an up and comer at the CIA until he met the wrong woman (Catherine McCormack) in Beirut and threw it all away.  It won't surprise you to find out that the person Pitt was trying to spring from prison in China was none other than his Beirut honey.  The other problem with Spy Game is that we never doubt for a moment that Redford is going to succeed because the aforementioned pencil-pushing geeks at the CIA seem powerless to stop him.  And there are no plot twists.  At one point, Redford says,"Do you remember when we could tell the good guys from the bad guys?"  Well, in Spy Game we always know who the good guys and the bad guys are.  The nice thing about a real  John Le Carré  story is that even the characters don't know if they are good guys or bad guys.  Anyway, add all this up and Spy Game has no tension and no pacing.  It starts out fairly well and ends OK but it gets pretty draggy in the middle. And then, there are little annoying things.  Rather than showing a clock or having us find out the time from one of the characters, the director takes the lazy way out and we are subjected to lots of graphics telling us how much time is left before Pitt gets it.  Pitt and Redford are nice together but they are a bit wasted here, particularly Pitt who spends half the movie doing nothing except bleed.  Apparently, Redford needed some cash to finance his next film.  Why else would he appear in Spy Game and The Last Castle, two so-so movies that he had no artistic control over.  If you want to see Robert Redford in a nice spy movie, rent Sneakers or Three Days of the Condor.