Originally shot as Agent II, Agent Revelation is a sequel to Agent, a 2017 film that I had seen, but forgotten about it until I saw the clips they used for flashbacks. It had something to do with a group of friends taking a marksmanship course in the desert and unleashing an ancient power. Writer/director/star Derek Ting (Always, Supercapitalist) returns with a sequel that gives us some answers as to just what it was they unleashed. And what it wants from mankind.
Being exposed to the red dust, or ash, as it’s called, in the first film has had an odd effect on Jim Yung (Derek Ting), it’s given him superpowers. And, with Earth caught up in a war against the Kinians, a race of evil aliens behind the ash, they need all the help they can get.
Enter Alastair (Michael Dorn, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Unbelievable!!!!!), who made billions with blockchain AI technology and now runs a private army fighting the Kinians. He, along with Dr. Jansen (Carole Weyers, The Room, Distorted) can train him to use his powers. But will his own past prevent him from achieving his potential?
Agent Revelation opens with one of the first film’s characters, John (Terrance Christopher Jones) now under alien control and attacking a couple of farmers. Alastair’s soldiers intervene, capturing John and killing his intended victims. And we’re supposed to trust these guys?
Unfortunately the film doesn’t get any less confusing, probably because it doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s billed as a science fiction action film, but there’s really not that much action. Instead it frequently wanders off into character study. Ting said that his character’s past was based on a friend who was abandoned by both his birth and adoptive parents. And it comes up frequently in the film, just like his inability to have kids. As does the racism and bullying he’s had to deal with.
If this was worked in subtly it would be one thing. But it all done in a very heavy handed manner that feels preachy . It’s nice to have some depth and backstory, but if I want this much drama, I’ll watch one.
As if that wasn’t enough, Agent Revelation eventually goes all New Age with talk about tai chi, spiritual journeys, harnessing life forces and the energy of the soul. And a magical power source called, what else, mana. That’s what powers the secret base they’re living in. Of course that’s what the aliens want, all of Earth’s mana. I’m surprised they didn’t find a way to work crystals, essential oils and Himalayan salt lamps into it as well.
Between that and the heroes being led by a billionaire who has to offshore his money to avoid it being frozen by governments controlled by a cabal of aliens Agent Revelation feels like some bizarre mashup of David Icke, Natural News and Zerohedge. If the planned third film is made I won’t be surprised if the aliens turn out to be reptilian.
I give Derek Ting a lot of credit for getting some nice production values out of the film’s budget. And for delivering some good fights in the final act in among the ones using slow motion/bullet time. That’s a gimmick that’s long passed its expiration date.
But even if all the action was well staged there’s no way it could overcome a script that’s a total train wreck. Maybe if I remembered more of the first film this might have made more sense. But I’m willing to bet it was a script like this that’s the reason I don’t remember much about Agent.
Quiver Distribution will release Agent Revelation on Demand and Digital January 22, 2021. You can check the film’s website and Facebook page for more information. But if you really need a fix of aliens doing martial arts, Skylines is a much better bet. Even Jiu Jitsu is better than this clusterfuck.