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The Operative (Rental)

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . MA15+ . PAL


After being captured by Russian agents, CIA operative Alec Carville (Brian Bosworth) is placed inside a Russian mental hospital and kept there for 11 years. Upon escaping, he discovers the cold war has ended and he is approached to commit the robbery of a valuable painting. He has no choice in this, as he must commit the crime in order to save his former partner and love, Red Fox - aka Sonya.

"One day you and your world will be free."

The reason he has been selected for this crime is that he bears a remarkable resemblance to the current owner of the painting. Sent into the bank to remove the painting from the safety deposit box, things don’t quite go to plan when the actual owner shows up.

This is a real stinker. The acting is atrocious and the plot is a real struggle to follow. The lead actor Brian Bosworth should have stuck to football and not ventured into the world of acting, he is just terrible. The really sad thing with this film is that he plays two roles. Some would say only a versatile actor could do this, but to answer that, I would simply remind you of Jean Claude Van Damme’s effort in Double Impact. With the obvious spy conflict used between the US and the Russians, there are the standard really bad Russian accents, the use of cliche code names like 'Red Fox' and 'Chameleon' and the typical big bad Russian pulling the strings.

If you can manage to follow the plot of this one then you are one step ahead of me. I was constantly scanning back to try and catch what was said and to see what was going on, partly due to the bad audio, but also due to the mumbling of lines. This really is a low budget effort and it shows. Running for 99:42, this is about 95 minutes too long.


Presented in full frame, this is, in a word, “awful”. The detail is the first thing that draws attention, with faces just seeming to disappear. Colours are over-saturated and blacks are terrible. The one and only saving grace is that there are little to no artefacts. The other point of note with this film is the lack of subtitles. Normally these are only an added bonus, but this film could really have done with them, simply to let the viewer know what was going on. Quite frankly, I have seen better quality home movies.


Audio available is Dolby Digital 2.0 and I have to ask, “why bother?”, with dialogue at best hard to understand. The consistent use of bad Russian accents doesn’t help, but Brian Bosworth seems to mumble most of his lines, why not it would seem as he stumbles through the film anyway. The use of separation is a waste in my opinion and the whole thing would have sounded just as good (or bad) in glorious mono. The music score takes over on more than one occasion and the audio effects are less than adequate. Audio synch is not a problem; well I think that is the case, as understanding what they said was pretty tough.


All that is available in the way of extras is a Theatrical Trailer for the main feature, which actually makes the film appear a lot better than it is. Yet again I have to ask, why do we need a trailer for a rental only film?


The fact that this release is a rental only does give one small advantage, you can at least return it to the video store with nobody realising you actually hired it. Had this been available for purchase and you had mistakenly bought it, you may be looking for someone you dislike a great deal to give it to. Give this one a big miss.

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      And I quote...
    "Brian Bosworth is an ex-football playing actor and a name to look out for in the future. Why? To avoid at all costs!"
    - Adrian Turvey
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