Spy Game [2001]

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Catherine McCormack
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 127 minutes

A thinking person's thriller, Spy Game employs dense plotting without sacrificing the kinetic momentum that is director Tony Scott's trademark. The film has the byzantine scope of a novel, focusing on veteran CIA operative Nathan Muir (Robert Redford), whose protégé Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) is scheduled for execution in a Chinese prison. It's Muir's last day before retiring (cliché alert!), and Bishop is being deliberately sacrificed by oily CIA officials to ensure healthy trade with China. Muir has 24 hours to rescue Bishop and his perfunctory love interest (Catherine McCormack), and Spy Game connects the mentor's end-run strategy to flashbacks of his student's exploits in Berlin, Beirut, and beyond. Ambitious but emotionally bland--and not as exciting as Scott's Enemy of the State--Spy Game offers pass-the-torch humor between leather-faced Redford and pretty boy Pitt, and although their dialogue is occasionally limp, the movie compensates with efficient style and substance. --Jeff Shannon

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