A couple of weeks ago, I got to go along to Spy Games near Milton Keynes for a rather fun and interesting day learning just how movies like The Bourne Legacy could be made and the sort of things that some of the actors like Jeremy Renner or Matt Damon of previous incarnations would go thoroughly to make their characters as life-like as possible. During the day, we (MSN, Huffington Post and Flipside) learnt to shoot, fight and skulk our way into enemy locations without alerting anyone to our our presence as well as looking at technology that investigators use in real-life situations that will blow your mind or get you rather worried that you could be being watched at any time without even knowing it!
The day began with getting suited up with all the required body armour, hand guns and helmets that we may need to infiltrate an enemy base whenever the need required it. We were warned that we’d be needing our AK-47 assault rifle replicas within reach all-day long just incase of an unsuspecting attack. First stop of the day was to the air-rifle range.
Now I use to do a fair bit of air rifle shooting back when I was at school as every Monday evening was air rifle club so I had a fair bit of pressure on my shoulders to show that 3 years of shooting had paid off! Unfortunately it appears my skills had wavered slightly in the last 20 years as I couldn’t hit the target for toffee! I insisted it was because I couldn’t shut but right eye to see down the scope so decided getting some gaffer tape to cover it up was the only way forward! I didn’t need my eye-brows anyway did I?! The gaffer tape did help a little but the main thing achieved was that it made me look like a complete fool! Surely I could do better using an assault rifle…..
Onto the next part of the training and time to make sure that we knew how to attack the enemy should the need ever be required. We were given replica AK-47′s fully loaded with soft pellets which can still pack a punch! We learnt various manoeuvres to help us attack the enemy while I learnt that if you want to shoot a gun in the army, it has to be done right handed. For all you lefties out there (me included), you need to make sure you hold the gun right-handed or you’ll get hot empty shell-casings flying all over you. And incase you were wondering, yes I did ask if left handed guns were available and unfortunately the simple answer is no!
Next it was onto hand-to-hand combat and a rather nice chap called James basically taught us how we could inflict rather a lot of damage on people without breaking into a sweat! James seemed such a nice chap on the outside but if ever I was in a fight, I’d definitely want him on my team! I ended up being used for quite a bit of the demonstration in this part of the day and as I was lying on the ground with a knee in my back and my arm twisted back behind me…. I started wondering what we would be in for on the rest of the day! Ed from MSN and I partnered up to practice this section of the day and I think it’s fair to say he was no match for me (!).
One of my favourite parts of the day was when we got to use an actual Glock replica and shoot some blanks from it. We were encouraged to wear ear defenders which I was a bit surprised by because surely these guns couldn’t be that loud? Yes they can! It was astonishing just how loud a read gun is and I have to say, shooting the gun was rather more enjoyable than I thought it would be! We got to fire a fair few shots with this gun and after it, I was glad for the ear defenders. Check out my little video below of me getting into the spirit with it!
The final part of the exercise for the day was looking at various types of surveillance units that can be utilised by private investigators when they’ve been tasked with following a subject. Some of the things were shown were incredible ranging from cameras in pens, smoke alarms, car wing mirrors and pretty much everything and anything else you can think of. Technology is so advanced now with cameras being so small that you can use pretty much anything you can think of to place a camera in. We were shown how people would infiltrate office buildings to gain information, how this information is then gathered covertly. It also became clear that to become a spy, you need to be a good actor and always think of a cover story just incase you’re rumbled!
The day was almost over but we knew that something special was on the cards that would put us through all the training that we’d gone through during our time at Spy Games. We were ushered into an office to watch the trailer for The Bourne Legacy when all of a sudden gunfires ensues, terrorists burst into the room and capture Nicola (one of the PR girls) away from us… from then on, the mission to save her is under-way (after I changed my underwear from being scared to death!).
We all piled into the back of a Land Rover, kitted up with full body-armour, pistols and our trusty AK-47 (bright orange replicas!). Battle-cries were heard from miles around as we all got ready to go and save Nicola (there weren’t actually any battle-cries I’m afraid!). After releasing a flash-bang (which is flipping loud!) we stormed into the warehouse where we knew Nicola had been taken, took up positions and opened fire! The terrorists grabbed her and ran out of the back of the warehouse and we gave chase putting all we’d learnt into action (it was somewhat chaotic and none of us actually knew was the heck was going on but it was all very fun!). More smoke grenades were lit, more flash-bangs deployed as we stormed out of the back of the warehouse still taking fire. We all took cover behind cars before there was an almighty explosion (it as absolutely amazing!) as a huge set of pyrotechnics exploded in front of us but we kept laying down fire to make sure that we saved Nicola!
Before we knew it, the terrorists were neutralised and there was only one left in the paddy wagon where Nicola was being held captive. We smashed the door in, shot him with my fake gun and saved the hostage! With explosions still happening around us, we retreated back to our safe area with a big MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Nicola was obviously traumatised by the entire experience and had to go to counselling afterwards but we were all rock-hard marines and this is all in a day’s work for us!
Watch the video below for the full story as it unfolded!
All in all, we had an amazing day at Spy Games and I urge you to go along to check it out. Thanks so much to all the guys there who looked after us and gave us such a fabulous experience. Make sure you check out their website for more information and book work away days, team building exercises and the like right here.
The Bourne Legacy is out in UK cinemas now and after all this training that I’ve gone through, it wouldn’t surprise me if I get a call-up for the fifth movie if it comes along! Our review of The Bourne Legacy is here.