Monday, April 4, 2011

Die Under Hard Siege Onboard Crimson October Red Tide: "Agent Red" (2001)

In the film's opening scenes, Special Ops stud Matt (Dolph Lundgren) and crew steal a Stealth fighter from a bunch of long haired soldiers in an unnamed jungle. This has nothing to do with the main plot of the movie, it is just a teaser, much like the James Bond films. Any comparison between Matt Hendricks and James Bond ends here, however.

There is a deadly viral toxin nerve gas thingy called Agent Red. It is called Agent Red to make it sound more threatening than Agent Orange, Agent Mauve, or Agent Periwinkle. It will kill anyone it comes into contact with in a matter of minutes. The U.S. developed it in the 1950's, the U.S.S.R. stole it, but now Russia wants to give it back to the U.S. in a drawn out military maneuver that can only happen in bad films like this. The Americans take the Agent Red aboard the submarine New Orleans, commanded by Russett or Russert, depending on the misspelled credits. The commander is played by Steve Eastin, whose character right away tells everyone this is his last mission before retiring...I will now take bets as to how long he lasts in the film.

Matt is assigned onboard with his ex-fiancee Linda (Meilani Paul), the hottest biochemist Naval officer I have ever seen. The sub is then taken over by Russian terrorists led by Kretz (Alexander Kuznetsov) and Nadia (Natalie Radford). They release the virus onboard, killing everyone but their fellow terrorists and Matt and Linda. Luckily, Matt took the antidote before boarding, and Linda is spared so she can tell the world how dangerous Agent Red is, plus she is hot. The terrorists plan to launch Agent Red filled missiles at New York City and Moscow.

We then get a lot of stock footage of equally bad submarine films spliced together with a bored Lundgren going through the motions of rescuing Linda and trying to stop the terrorists while the New Orleans' own escort ships start firing on the sub. Even Linda and Nadia get into a couple of catfights, although no one loses their top or falls into a convenient vat of pudding. Toss in tons of editing mistakes with the stock footage (is that Andrew Stevens?), and watch for the shocking Russian-made video of the virus in action (all the Russians conveniently speak English).

Dolph Lundgren has not aged since his days punching Sylvester Stallone, but he acts like he could care less about this acting assignment. He throws his lines out, perhaps sensing how lame they are. He should be a great action hero (instead of Vin Diesel), it is a shame he is not. The rest of the cast go through the motions of their "characters", also perhaps sensing how lame this film is going to be. The interiors of the New Orleans look like yet another straight-to-video power plant set, how many subs have cement walls? Everyone fires automatic weapons as if breaching a hull were of no concern. Lundgren and Paul run around and bicker like two lovers who will soon reunite. No one ever seems to run out of ammo unless it is time for a one liner from our hero, and all of our military technology never seems to work at crucial moments. To pad the running time, the film makers added an end credits sequence with small clips of the cast, right down to minor supporting characters, with their names sometimes misspelled.

"Agent Red" has me seeing red. It is sloppy and uninspired, as if no one really wanted to do this. You have seen this moldy story line a hundred times before, why bother with one more? I wish I hadn't. (*) out of five stars.