Where You Can Watch Cloak & DaggerCloak & Dagger
Hitting theaters only one year after Return of the Jedi
, the last in the trilogy that inspired the Knights of the Old Republic
games, Cloak & Dagger
takes a post-E.T.
Henry Thomas and drops him in the middle of a spy thriller wrapped around a video game. It was originally released as a double feature with The Last Starfighter
, another classic video game movie that has burned the phrase "Greetings Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada" into thousands of pre-teen brains. But where The Last Starfighter
was science fiction, Cloak & Dagger
was something that could actually happen.
Granted, it's extremely far-fetched to think that spies would hide the plans to a top-secret spy plane inside a video game cartridge. Then again, who's going to think to look inside a kid's game for Air Force blueprints? With hundreds of thousands of carts made back in the 1980s, it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. That's all fine. Now the extremely silly stuff lies in the fact that you could only reveal the code if you played to a certain score on the game. Which means you'd have to have a game geek on staff in your spy organization.
Now here's where things get even weirder. During the development of Cloak & Dagger
, the producers discovered that Atari was working on a spy-themed video game called Agent X
. They agreed to partner up, and in exchange for Atari changing the name of the game to Cloak & Dagger
, it would be featured heavily in the film. Which it is, except the version in the movie is the arcade version of the game, and not the Atari 5200 version, which is what they are meant to be playing. That version never came out, due to the famous gaming crash of 1983, and the arcade version saw limited release as a conversion kit from Atari for Robotron
But that's all fluff that you can geek out on later. The film stars Henry Thomas as 11-year-old Davey Osborne, who lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his widower military air-traffic controller father Hal (played well by Dabney Coleman). Davey is obsessed with Jack Flack, the star of his favorite roleplaying game, Cloak & Dagger
, which has also been turned into a video game. When we say obsessed, we mean to the point where he actually imagines that he sees Jack Flack for real, and he looks like a tricked out spy version of his father.
Davey accidentally gets involved in a real-life spy adventure when Morris, the owner of the local video game store at the mall, sends Davey and his friend Kim out to buy Twinkies for him. They accidentally witness a murder, and just before the victim dies, he gives Davey a Cloak & Dagger
cartridge and urges him to get it to the FBI. Of course, the authorities believe Davey is just playing a game, and ignore him. Why are adults in movies always so stupid? Anyhow, that's a good thing because it provides us with the plot for this film. Of course, you'll have to watch the film to see how things turn out, but one thing you'll learn in this movie is that video games actually can
get people killed.
hasn't hit the HD generation yet, but you can find it to stream in SD on Amazon Instant Video for $2.99, or you can purchase it for $9.49. You can also purchase it on the Xbox in SD for 800 points ($10)
But you'll thank us later, because as it turns out, Cloak & Dagger
is available on DVD as a double feature with the Fred Savage classic The Wizard
for only only $5.49. Why Universal hasn't turned back the clock to 1983 and made this a double feature once more with The Last Starfighter
, we'll never know. But, The Wizard
is a great piece to team this up with if you want to ground your video game movies in reality. I love the Power Glove. It's so bad!
So treat yourself to some retro gaming, and continue that experience with this retro flick. It's enough to make you want to visit San Antonio and purchase some old-school, giant walkie talkies from Radio Shack.
Kevin Kelly is a writer and pop culture junkie with a fixation on video games, movies, and board games. His writing has been seen at Moviefone, io9, Film School Rejects, TechRadar, Wizard World, G4, and The Austin Chronicle. He lives in Los Angeles and does not know how to surf. Follow him on Twitter @kevinkelly.