Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Covert One: The Hades Factor

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Year: 2006

Run Time: 165 minutes

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Mick Jackson

Cast: Stephen Dorff, Mira Sorvino, Blair Underwood, Sophia Myles, Danny Huston, Colm Meaney, Josh Hopkins, Jeffrey DeMunn, Anjelica Huston, Rosemary Dunsmore, Joris Jarsky, Karen Glave, &tc.

URL: Covert One (Official CBS page)

Format Viewed: DVD (R1)

Premise: A mission to retrieve a virus stolen by terrorists goes terribly wrong leaving a covert operative out in the cold and the government reeling in confusion as they rush to find the agent and recover the deadly bio-weapon before it can be unleashed against an unsuspecting populace.


The DVD: Picture is clear, audio is good, feature is anamorphic widescreen, and the extras include trailers for Ultraviolet, The Cave, The Forgotten, and The Fifth Element.

The Movie: This was actually a television mini-series which, I suspect, may have been originally intended as a vehicle for a regular run of mini series. Which may explain why it's such a convoluted mess. To misquote the Guild Navigator from Dune: There's plans within plans.


Without giving too much of the plot away a covert agent (Mira Sorvino) in Berlin is double crossed, thus leaving her uncertain of who to trust, and all because various groups are out to gain possession of a vial of deadly bio-toxin. Meanwhile there's this other former covert operative that coincidentally happens to be attending a conference in Berlin that's a old friend/co-worker of Sorvino's character. Apparently he's supposed to be super important (yet retired) black-ops dude, a real Jack Baur type, and since he's also in Berlin people just assume he's in on the plot. Or, if not, he can at least track down his friend and recover the vial as it's assumed she will likely be looking to contact former operatives she knew or something.

Post mortem.

Covert One seemed to have a fairly decent start. However part way through viewing I suddenly recognized a scene. That I apparently watched part of this when it aired yet remember nothing about this speaks volumes about how tediously dull and forgettable Covert One is. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that this miniseries was based on a series of novels by Robert Ludlum. Never read any thing by or heard of the author but, according to wikipedia, Covert One is a "sequence of thriller novels" and "the series features a top-secret team of political and technical experts who fight corruption and conspiracy at the highest and most dangerous levels of society" (Ludlum books dot com).

Conspiracy of fear.

Covert One plays like an extended episode of 24 with Stephen Dorff as the low rent Jack Baur stand-in. However he doesn't really get involved with the "action" until the movie is well underway, and even then he's more reluctant antihero who ends up caught in the middle of high level intrigue. Alas Covert One has neither the carefully crafted suspense or sense of anticipation that something imminent is about to happen that the typical episode of 24 manages to put into it's compact 45-50 minute run time.

Mira Sorvino

Assessment: Covert One is a lame game of hide-and-seek tag in which the main character, supposedly a former covert operative, has to be cajoled into action; which is mostly chasing clues around the globe to try to find out what's going on. It's basically a game of: Where in the World is that Bio-weapon? And if you think that sounds tediously dull try sitting through this boring garbage. Mira Sorvino has little more than a glorified extended cameo role, appearing at the beginning and near the end of the miniseries. But the real surprise is Anjelica Huston, who plays the president, for she has the briefest screen time of all the name actors yet has the most memorable onscreen presence. Sadly it's not enough to save this. Then again Mira Sorvino could have been totally nude throughout this miniseries and it would still not be worth watching, it's that mind-numbingly insipid.

Random graphic.

Verdict: Considering I purchased this at Big Lots for $3 I wont complain, much. Yet that is $3 I could have spent on something worthwhile, like a tabloid or garbage bags. Covert One is a totally forgettable OUTBREAK/ANDROMEDA STRAIN wannabe that takes a talented cast and utterly wastes them on a pallid script, clich├ęd plot, and excruciatingly dull drama that barely rises above urine drenched mediocrity. Avoid.

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Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan