Spy Hard (Remastered) (1996)

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Released 19-Dec-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 77:34
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Rick Friedberg
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Leslie Nielsen
Nicollette Sheridan
Charles Durning
Marcia Gay Harden
Barry Bostwick
John Ales
Andy Griffith
Elya Baskin
Mason Gamble
Carlos Lauchu
Stephanie Romanov
Dr.Joyce Brothers
Ray Charles
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Bill Conti
'Weird Al' Yankovic
Rick Friedberg


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Spanish
French
Dutch
Norwegian
Finnish
Swedish
Spanish Titling
French Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    If you've seen any of the Naked Gun movies, or any other spoof that Leslie Nielsen seems so fond of, then you know the "plot" of this one. Take a whole heap of fairly recent movies (at the time of filming anyway), parody little scenes out of them, and tie the whole kit and caboodle up into a particular movie genre theme. This time, as the subtle name might suggest, it's the spy movie genre that gets the bulk of the script time.

    As far as the story for this thematic glue goes, Nielson plays retired Agent WD-40 (Dick Steele), who's now quite happy to spend his days down at the golf club. When the daughter of his ex-partner is taken captive by a man he thought he'd killed (General Rancor - Andy Griffith), Dick goes back into action one more time. He must retrieve a computer chip that will control the most powerful missile in the world, rescue the girl, and not get assassinated by Agent 3.14 (Veronique Ukranssky - Nicollette Sheridan), all whilst wooing the ladies and dodging semi-famous cameos ("big" names like Hulk Hogan and Fabio).

    If you like the sort of films that Flying High started, and you're a fan of Leslie Nielsen, then you should get a bit of a laugh out of this one, which works on the old "some-of-them-will-stick" philosophy of throwing out so many jokes that hopefully at least some of them will tickle your fancy. Part of the humour in these sorts of movies is based on the viewer knowing the scenes from other films that are being parodied, and they've tried to cover all bases here by having a go at varied features ranging from Home Alone and Sister Act to Jurassic Park and Cliffhanger (not to mention Bond of course).

    Personally I didn't find this outing to have nearly as many good moments as most previous efforts (Hot Shots and Loaded Weapon spring to mind as both being superior), and I don't think it would bear any repeat viewings. However, if you want something mindless to watch on Christmas Day after a few sherries, then this might just fit the bill.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a remastered release, and you can read IanM's review of the original release right here. From his comments about the video, I'd say it was in need of remastering, but it's still a mystery to me why such a small title would get this treatment. It has though, and it shows.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which is the original aspect ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is generally crisp and sharp with only the occasional lack of clarity due to slight grain. Blacks are nice and solid, and shadow detail is also good, which can be illustrated in the dark scenes around 34:51.

    Colour is very accurate, with good flesh tones and no problems with any of the bright colours. There's a real mix of colours - varying from some fairly drab scenes to some quite vibrant ones (such as the jungle scenes).

    Film-to-video artefacts are absent for the most part, and only the occasional film artefact rears its head (such as at 60:58).

    There are 11 subtitle streams; English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, Spanish, French, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Spanish Titling and French Titling. I sampled the English stream and found them to be fairly average when it came to accuracy. You do miss some of the humour due to omissions.

    This is a single-layered DVD, so there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are 3 audio tracks on this disc; English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). I listened to the English track.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand, with no audio sync problems. The only issues I had with dialogue were the occasional exaggerated accents that made things a little less easy on the ears.

    The music by Bill Conti, 'Weird Al' Yankovic, Rick Friedberg, and Ashley Irwin is what you'd expect from such a film - basically taking off all the usual Bond tunes, with Weird Al's theme song being one of the highlights of the movie. It's all pretty appropriate, but not exactly mind-blowing.

    The surrounds get a little bit of work to do, with bullets, explosions, music and some jungle sounds. They are still silent for long periods though.

    The subwoofer also has a job in this soundtrack, albeit not an overly active one. It adds to the few explosions, fireballs and some of the bass in the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    None whatsoever.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    I could only find the one Region 1 version, so I don't know if a remastered release is in the pipeline. Currently though I'd say the Region 4 wins due to its 16x9 enhanced video transfer. The Region 1 production featurette is just a 4 minute EPK-style offering.

Summary

    One of the poorer spoof movies to come out in the 1990s, but still worth a watch with some mates if you're into slapstick humour.

    The video is probably the best thing about this DVD, and is a pleasure to watch.

    The audio has no problems, but it isn't a reference disc for showing off a 5.1 sound system.

    There are no extras at all.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Saturday, December 13, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

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