Writer and Director: Derek Ting
Following on from 2017’s Agent, Derek Ting’s Agent Revelation (or Agent II as it’s otherwise called) picks up the story of a futuristic world where human life is threatened by a mysterious red dust that kills almost everyone who comes into contact with it. Only Jim (played by Ting himself) seems to be immune to the alien powder. Clichéd and confused, it’s hard to work out just who Agent Revelation is aimed at, too slow for teenage audiences and too silly for adults.
The story begins where Agent finished and so some prior knowledge of this film is perhaps preferable, but it’s doubtful whether this will help explain away all the aliens, the other dimensions, the tunnels under the ground that connect all the world, and the blue energy source that powers the military headquarters in which Jim wakes. He’s inhaled the ash but because of some aspect of his DNA instead of killing him it’s seemingly made him immortal and a fierce warrior
Doctors check him out, and send him to combat training where he’s encouraged to shoot humanoid robots in a real-life computer game complete with its own levels. It’s here where he meets his new friends and as they fight the harmless robots they prepare themselves for the big boss waiting at the film’s end. Throw in a few double crosses, a talking computer and a couple of aliens and that’s about it for Agent Revelation, which is reminiscent, in places, of the old series of Dr Who where story took precedence over the set and special effects.
Ting is fine as the star of the film, and while it’s heartening to see an Asian man play an action hero in a Western film, the role is a pretty familiar one, and he brings little new to it. Carole Weyers adds some glacial charm to her role as Dr Jansen, and Matthew Ryan Burnett as Aaron is an admirable if cheesy part of the military team. Michael Dorn is a little too Zen in his role as Alastair as the brains behind the Extra-terrestrial Special Forces Unit, irritatingly reduced to ESU with no thought for the F. In the same way Robotic Unit Enforcement Trainers have the acronym of RUNT; with so little action it’s easy to become obsessed by these unsatisfactory abbreviations.
As the end comes, it seems that Ting has an Agent III in mind. Let’s hope that he can get a bigger budget for his next one as there is potential here. But perhaps as writer, director and star, Ting is overstretching himself a little as Agent Revelation certainly does not live up to its name.
Released on 22 January 2021