Plot: What’s it about?
Matt Hendricks (Dolph Lundgren) is the finest special operations officer the Navy has, so of course, he is assigned to a dangerous, but very important mission. Hendricks is to venture onto the submarine USS New Orleans, which will host the most lethal viral weapon ever known. This means nothing can happen that’s not planned, which is why Hendricks was chosen and he intends to live up to his reputation. The trip begins very well and it seems as though everything is on course, but soon a band of Russian terrorists storm onto the scene. The terrorists have forced their way on board and now, plan to take control of the deadly virus and spread it over a large American city, leaving a wake of death behind. And while the virus is locked up, it is only a matter of time until the Russians discover it, so Hendricks must act fast to prevent the disaster from happening. He is joined by Linda (Meilani Paul), a beautiful woman who seeks to do whatever it takes to survive and stop the terrorists. This is his toughest mission yet, but Hendricks is known as the best, so now he needs to prove it and then some.
This movie started out under much different pretenses, but director Damian Lee overhauled the storyline and switched a lot of things around. What seemed like a really good storyline soon turned into Agent Red, although star Dolph Lundgren remained on deck. I still wanted to like Agent Red however, as I am a junkie for Lundgren movies and hey, I needed a solid fix. But in the end, this is a very average direct to video flick, with a lot of bad moments that stand out in my memory. Lundgren is given little in terms of action presence, which I think will let down those in search of a fast paced, action packed experience. In fact, aside from a couple scenes and some cool lines, Lundgren is wasted here, as a non action star could have handled all of his tasks. I can understand why Lundgren was chosen, but I wish he was given more action driven duties, since that is what he does best. This could have been a good action flick, but Lee’s changes seem to have sunk Agent Red. I recommend this disc a rental, but only if you’ve run out of options and don’t mind a low budget, average direct to video undersea thriller.
Although he never reached the elite level of action stars, I think Dolph Lundgren is a very good performer, even if pretty stiff at times. His acting level is not much lower than other action stars like Van Damme or Arnold, but he never became a massive star, though he has made a number of films in the span of his career. Like all action workers, Lundgren has some good ones and some bad ones, but he also has a lot of average ones, like Agent Red. His work here is good, but he isn’t given the large stunts and set pieces to perform with, which limits the “action” for this action star. A few decent spots keep this flick alive, but it needs more resources for the action scenes, which would have allowed Lundgren some time to shine. Other films with Lundgren include Men of War, Universal Soldier, Rocky IV, The Punisher, Blackjack, Masters of the Universe, and I Come In Peace. The cast here also includes Randolph Mantooth (Enemy Action), Alexander Kuznetsov (The Peacemaker, Space Cowboys), Natalie Radford (Kate’s Addiction, Superstar), and Meilani Paul (Hard Times, Love Stinks).
Video: How does it look?
Agent Red is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This transfer provides a sharp, very refined image, with minimal flaws I could find to complain about. I suppose I could mention how the stock footage stands out like a sore thumb, but I think that’s expected to a certain degree. The low budget nature of the flick doesn’t hinder this image much, very impressive work on the whole. The colors look bright and bold, flesh tones seem natural, and contrast is well balanced, no problems in the least. I was very surprised with how sharp this transfer was, but I am looking forward to future Columbia/Tristar discs that look this smooth.
Audio: How does it sound?
As I mentioned in the review, this movie lacks the amount of action I expected, which shows in the audio mix. Although this disc uses a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, the surrounds are not used all that much, just in the rare action driven and more tense sequences. Now the mix is smooth and well done, but it doesn’t have the powerful presence you might expect, so I wanted to make note of that issue in this section. The music and sound effects are well presented however, which a pleasant overall effect and I doubt anyone will complain much. No real problems with dialogue, which is clean and easy to understand, although not as crisp as I’d like. This disc also includes 2.0 surround tracks in English and French, as well as subtitles in Spanish and English.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc houses some talent files, the film’s trailer, and an audio commentary with director Damian Lee. Although this track has some good information, I wish Lee would have discussed the changes made before production started, instead of the basic comments he delivers. Even so, I commend Columbia/Tristar for including a commentary track on such a low profile release, as it adds value to the disc.