03rd Apr2020

‘Agent Jade Black’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Katie Burgess, Connie Franklin, Sidney Flack, Luke Wyckoff, Caleb Fellenstein, Rane Thomason, Taylor Reich, Tom Allen, Greg Williams, Brett Bower, Lee Patterson, John C. Bailey, Tyler Malinauskas, Michela Creel | Written and Directed by Terry Spears


Well well well… High Octane Pictures, most known for releasing horror, thriller and sci-fi films of varying budgets and competences, have surprisingly released a brand-new spy thriller – Agent Jade Black. A spy thriller in the vein of every other spy thriller you’ve ever seen. Well I say in the vein of every other spy thriller but that’s something of an exaggeration. You haven’t seen ANY spy thriller like Agent Jade Black.

Lead actress Katie Burgess, who has appeared in a number of low budget genre films like The Jurassic Games, plays the titular character, a rebellious spy who does things her own way much to the chagrin of her bosses. This time round Black is tasked with capturing a rogue former agent before she can unleash a biological weapon starting with the wealthy and powerful purveyors of the international sex trade. Huh? A spy trying to stop the deaths of perverts and pedos? What?! Sorry but in this case I’m rooting for the bad guys to win!

But then for the most part it looks like the bad guys will clearly win. You see Burgess isn’t all that convincing as a hardened spy. The film opens with her clumsily ruling around sand dunes holding a gun as if it was a hot potato rather than a weapon of death – I’ve never seen someone look so uncomfortable and so clumsy handling a gun in a film. Ever. Burgess does get better but that sorry opening does nothing to help convince that she’s capable of taking down a huge network of villains. Plus Burgess looks more like a sorority sister embroiled in something she shouldn’t be rather than a spy… Hell, maybe if THAT was the plot of the film she would have been a hell of a lot more believable.

But it’s not all Burgess’ fault. The character is written terribly and so is the rest of the film. Agent Jade Black feels like someone trying their damnedest to emulate [modern] James Bond without much of a clue as to how and why those films work. So we end up with what feels like a series of set-pieces strung together, with ridiculously long chases scenes or driving scenes thrown in to pad the runtime.

When it comes to low-budget filmmaking failing I always find it’s a case of people being overly-ambitious or being totally out of their depth. In the case of Agent Jade Black it’s certainly the latter. To make a spy movie you need tension, drama, believability (to an extent) but what you need is charisma. A charismatic hero and a charismatic villain. Unfortunately for writer/director Terry Spears he only has the latter, thanks to a gloriously over the top performance by Connie Franklin as former agent turned baddie Elle. If only everyone had approached the film with the same sense of over-exuberance and grandiosity as Franklin, then maybe the audience would have at least had fun watching… and it might have distracted from the films shortcomings!

Agent Jade Black is out now on DVD and Digital from High Octane Pictures


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