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  Directed by
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  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras

    Spy Hard

    Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 78 mins . PG . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    Leslie Nielsen is obviously happy in this sort of role. He might also be happy playing a character in a movie. Or playing with dolls, who can say?

    Personally, I think films like this border on funny, but rarely extract more than a wry grin over a loud guffaw. And maybe other exotic birds.

    Telling the simple tale of a retired government agent who is called upon to help his country one last time, Spy Hard is one of those films akin to The Naked Gun and the Police Squad TV series. To wit; very little plotwise, but plenty spoofwise. With parodies of a score of Hollywood blockbusters including In the Line of Fire, Pulp Fiction, Speed, True Lies, Home Alone, Sister Act, The Mask, Jurassic Park and Apollo 13, Spy Hard is occasionally funny, though only a true fan of the genre might find it hysterical.

    Performances are naturally hammy, with Barry Bostwick (Spin Cityís mayor of New York) going extreme on his J.F.K./Mayor Quimby impersonation. Nielsen is his usual ageless self, playing exactly the same role heís played in a million other films of the ilk. Still, everyone has fun with the script although the limited special effects are decidedly 1996. This includes the myriad Photoshop-like transported-heads-next-to-celebrities shots or onto porn models. Oh well.

    "Let me tell you what being patriotic really is, you scumbag poop!"

    Some heavy calibre cameos from folks who shoulda known better turn up throughout and are worth keeping alert for, although theyíre pretty hard to miss. Ray Charles and Pat Morita are the definite stand-outs here and letís not forget Mr T. - how great to see him back in work again. (Allow me a moment to wipe away an errant tear at the sadness of The A-Teamís demise. Wouldnít it be cool if they remade that old show as a movie?)

      Video
    Contract

    Buena Vista makes a kickarse transfer and no mistake. Everything looks superb in this film without any hassles leaping out at us. Perhaps only let down in the too-goodness by showing the dodginess of some of the cheaper special effects, everything else looks perfect. Shadow detail is fine, blacks and colours are natural and flesh tones are even and realistic. A great visual transfer that canít be faulted (really) in its 1.85:1 cinema aspect with 16:9 enhancement.

      Audio
    Contract

    Again, the aural part of the review comes out clean. A standard Dolby Digital 5.1 surround situation is delivered but it has little to do and sits around scratching itself for the most part. Dialogue is all pretty easily understood and the comedic sound effects are translated fairly well.

    I didnít detect any synching problems at all from the sound at all and thereís no hissing or static or anything pooey like that. Music has been scored by Bill Conti and is sufficient for a comedy film of this sort, being typically exaggerated or understated as required.

      Extras
    Contract

    An extra is someone in the background of a film who is usually uncredited unless they have a speaking role. And thatís about all we get here.

      Overall  
    Contract

    Spoofing and silliness can be very funny in the correct environment (the cinema, a room full of drunk friends, male prison etc.), so it can be hard to recommend without knowing that will be the viewerís situation.

    However, this movie does have itís moments of levity Ė it just isnít as funny as some others in the genre have been (see Hot Shots or Police Squad). Also, some gags are just a little too stupid and Grade Four. I give you the convent name of 'Our Lady of the Never Had the Pickle Convent'. Geez, come on!

    It has been granted a great transfer though, and would be a worthy addition to the collection for fans of this type of film, or indeed Leslie Nielsenís ongoing work within them.


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      And I quote...
    "Leslie Nielsenís back (is shown in various scenes.)"
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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