Spy Game is a movie with a plot where all the action happens in a 24-hour period, and flashbacks are used to fill in a lot of the gaps. This results in a lot of talking and not as much action, which makes the film drag at times.
Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) is a CIA officer about to retire. He discovers that one of his proteges, Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt), is held in a prison in China for trying to rescue an inmate, Elizabeth Hadley (Catherine McCormack), in an unsanctioned operation. The movie primarily tells the story of how the situation came to pass, and the cleverness of Muir in tricking the U.S. government into affecting a rescue while he is being grilled for information about the rogue operation.
The presence of the leads, Brad Pitt and Robert Redford, lends an intenseness to this otherwise mediocre thriller. There is some thing worth thinking about the cunning way the "game" is played by the different people, though in the end cleverness always ends up giving way to brute force.
Like with Behind Enemy Lines, this film illustrates the nature of humanity. The notion of war and violent conflict is directly treated as a game here (unlike in the former film, where the cliches only makes it figurative). Perhaps it's the only way that people in power, who order others (not in power) to their deaths, can justify their actions when they go to sleep.