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Play Spy Thriller Bingo!
Tick off the tropes with our cut-and-keep guide

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If you’ve seen any thrillers lately you’ll know that on-screen espionage is an ever-shifting world full of betrayal, danger and a bit more betrayal. Nothing is what it seems. The good guy? He’s actually the bad guy. That toaster? A weapon. That bloke with the beard? Angelina Jolie. But do not fear: this handy guide will steer you through the murky spy business that is Safe House, Salt, The Recruit, Bourne and all the other espionage thrillers currently infiltrating your DVD collection. Treadstone would call it an ‘Optimised Terminology Grid’. We call it ‘spy bingo’.

WORDS PHIL DE SEMLYEN
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A person is refered to as "an asset"

Said asset goes "rogue"

Asset goes rogue and also "off the grid"

Asset goes rogue and off both "the grid" and "the reservation"

Rogue asset appears in international airport / US consulate / other eye-poppingly conspicuous locale

Asset is off the reservation but "pops up" on the grid

Emergency spy box contains 27 fake passports

Footchase occurs around African city

Asset is "turned"

Organisation is known as "the Agency", whether CIA or not

Agency assigns a "priority level" of 3 or above

Rival spy is particularly shit-scary because "he's ex-Mossad"

Woman in suit points to massive screen with map on it

Image on massive screen is "enhanced"

"Enhancement" technology reveals previously invisible details

Obvious disguise uses baseball cap and different jacket

Someone asks for the time "on the ground"

Extravagant use of 24 hour clock

CIA wonk turns up with back-up despite being told to "come alone"

Reference to "going mobile". Eg. "he's on a bus / train / plane etc."

Files download very slowly

Stuff is "compromised"

Car chase in ginormous 4x4

Car chase in taxi / slightly crap car

Hero jumps off a bridge

Hero throws away mobile phone

Hero throws away mobile phone while jumping off bridge

Agency suit says: "Okay, listen up people!"

Agency suit needs to know "what he's dealing with"

Agency honcho demands that information "yesterday"

Bad guy notes that "We're not so different, you and I"

Tech boffin pinpoints location of mobile phone in under 10 seconds

Hero is briefly waterboarded / otherwise tortured

Reference to "the playbook"

Agency honcho demands surveillance "package"

Agency wonk says: "It's already been done!" when it hasn't
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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1 RE: Crap
The Bourne movies are quality...but the others not so much. More

Posted by Mort Grimm on Monday August 13, 2012, 13:04

2 Hilarious
Loving the depiction of the grid - off the reservation but 'pops up' is inspired. More

Posted by Blyman on Thursday March 8, 2012, 15:53

3 Crap
I have none of those shit movies in my DVD collection. I prefer some quality. More

Posted by Pelle on Thursday March 8, 2012, 10:54

4 women
You haven't got "asset shags/gets close to a woman" & "woman gets killed" ala bond/bourne More

Posted by Tosh on Wednesday March 7, 2012, 10:41

5 Bourne
That's pretty much the Bourne Trilogy in a nutshell. :P More

Posted by strudelman on Tuesday March 6, 2012, 22:55

6 Casino Royale
You've just described the exact plot of James Bond and the Casino Royale! You know with less sex and exotic locales but still! Assets, rogues, grids... jumping off bridges... It's got it all. And that's a Bingo! More

Posted by kisswithatear on Tuesday March 6, 2012, 18:10


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