Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 29
  2. Negative: 1 out of 29
  1. 63
    It is not a bad movie, mind you; it's clever and shows great control of craft, but it doesn't care, and so it's hard for us to care about. To see it once is to plumb to the bottom of its mysteries, and beyond.
  2. The film is brimming with plots, counterplots, dossiers, and sinister corrupt priorities, all held together by the telephoto obsidian gloss of Scott's look-ma-no-pauses style.
  3. 50
    Don't you hate movies where one character is so much smarter than everyone else? That's only one problem with Spy Game, a glossy, suffocatingly predictable star vehicle for Robert Redford and Brad Pitt.
  4. What Spy Game turns out to be is the old reliable family car spruced up around the edges in an attempt to convince a new generation of buyers that it's a hot number.
  5. To make silk purses from turgid passages, Mr. Scott does what he always does, gooses them up with every trick in the big-budget book.
  6. Fans of swooping helicopter shots, alleys filled with backlit geysers of steam, and jump-cut editing that makes MTV look like Ingmar Bergman will relish the intercontinental intrigue and huggermugger that is Spy Game.
  7. 30
    A dead-chamber misfire, a hollowpoint dud.
  8. 75
    The movie asks tough, unflinching questions about America's responsibility to maintain world peace -- and the price we are willing to pay in order to accomplish that. Timely stuff, indeed.
  9. Reasonably entertaining spy-versus-spy shenanigans were for me partially undercut by the hypocritical pretense that the CIA and its various forms of mischief were somehow being ridiculed.
  10. Gripping, improbable plot marked by exciting sequences of action.
  11. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    Serves up a judicious blend of showy action, political intrigue, ticking-clock suspense and intramural CIA one-upsmanship for mainstream entertainment.
  12. It's well-plotted, acted with a charismatic flair and right on the zeitgeist.
  13. The problem lies in the calculating pretentiousness of using human misery to make shallow entertainment seem serious. It's worth comparing Spy Game with "The Tailor of Panama," John Boorman's far superior exercise in post-cold-war spycraft.
  14. 63
    We don't experience the drama from the inside out because everything is on the surface. Redford is the only one who supplies internal life to Spy Game.
  15. With its cast of back-stabbing functionaries and desk jockeys, Spy Game makes the sport and hard work of espionage seem chillingly real.
  16. The script provides an excellent payoff, although action fans may not agree, because that payoff is the equivalent of a Cheshire cat's grin.
  17. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    More than a quarter-century ago, Redford played a young CIA employee in "Three Days of the Condor." Someday, it will make a great living-room double bill with Spy Game -- the actor then and now.
  18. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    75
    There's something elegiac in Redford's spy who knows he's a dinosaur but still has a few moves left.
  19. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    70
    Entertaining but farfetched, Spy Game might have looked less meretricious a few months back. But the real world has sabotaged its pretense of authenticity. Enjoy it for what it is, a fleet, handsome fantasy of globe-hopping blond demigods.
  20. 90
    The movie is sleek and shiny as a new bullet, reflecting Scott's patented surplus of style.
  21. Enormously satisfying and fun to watch.
  22. 70
    Manages to be entertaining and reasonably exciting. Scott's style may be slick and tricky but, if this and his last film, "Enemy of the State," are any indication, he's lost the glossy sadism that characterized his previous work.
  23. A mess, but it's a rousing mess, with ample humor and action to satisfy the discerning dullard within.
  24. 83
    There's more to this movie. Like Pitt at his best, it's pretty, gritty, engrossing and fun.
  25. 75
    If you like Redford, Spy Game will be a real treat: a fast electric thriller full of the old Sundance charm and pizzazz.
  26. 80
    Happily, beneath the film's nostalgic veneer and tooth-rattling visual and aural effects lies a mature ambiguity that's unusual for a holiday blockbuster -- and all but unheard of in a Tony Scott movie.
  27. 50
    Less Bond than simply boring, a tedious and overdirected race-against-time drama with a few espionage elements thrown in.
  28. Reviewed by: Frank Lovece
    50
    Extremely well-shot espionage thriller that might have worked as an old-fashioned guy's-guy movie if the guys involved had any real, human personality and the espionage were actually thrilling.
  29. Reviewed by: John Powers
    70
    The supremely attractive leads, exotic locations (Vietnam, Berlin and Beirut) and fetishized violence imbue the whole intelligence game with undeniable glamour.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 50 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. Dec 25, 2011
    10
    A masterpiece. Redford's performance was outstanding. Redford showed that how strong the nerves can be of a person who is in espionage. Awesome realistic performance from Redford and Pitt supported him well. Full Review »
  2. Aug 17, 2014
    5
    This one is alright. Robert Redford is very good, Brad Pitt is solid, and the plot is interesting, but beyond that, things struggle. First off, the plot is a little overcomplicated. There is so much going on that it can be hard to follow, even if you are paying attention. In addition to being overly complicated, the plot is 100% implausible. Some elements likely ring true, but the way things turn out and the events leading to the ending are completely implausible and simply not believeable. Speaking of the plot, it is entirely formulaic. I usually do not mind formulaic films, but this one is obnoxiously so. At times, it works and at others, it simply becomes too predictable. In terms of the direction, I am not a huge fan of Tony Scott. His storytelling here is sketchy and then other elements of this one are simply not for me. As with many of his films, he is simply too formulaic of a director and does nothing extraordinarily well. The editing is also bad, which is almost a guarantee in a Tony Scott film. In one scene in particular, it just kept cutting from a two-shot to close ups obnoxiously and without need, which was very distracting. Bad editing is usually when it is distracting and in many scenes here, it is distracting. Ultimately, however, Spy Game is in fact entertaining and fun to follow. Thanks to great performances and a satisfying ending and premise, this one is just mediocre, rather than a complete and utter disaster. Full Review »
  3. Jul 8, 2012
    6
    Although far from Tony Scott's best work, Spy Game makes for an entertaining movie. It gets too convoluted at times and also stretches it's timeline a bit too thin for any sustained emotional impact. On the plus side, seeing Robert Redford slinking his way around the CIA HQ, covertly giving his superiors the finger is a very amusing prospect indeed. Fun but inessential viewing. Full Review »