11th Jul2023

‘Operation Black Ops’ Review

by Jim Morazzini

Stars: Tito Ortiz, Rafael Cansino, Mike Ferguson, Paul Bikibili, Cris “Cyborg” Justino, Mike Markoff, Kelsey Johnson, Johnny Llanes, Jenna Pena | Written and Directed by Jamaal Burden

As if the fact its title works out to “Operation Black Operations” wasn’t enough of a warning, we’re not even two minutes into Operation Black Ops when the orange ring around the barrel of one of the character’s weapons is clearly visible.

Noah (Tito Ortiz; Hunting Games, The Crow: Wicked Prayer) is on his knees spitting blood in a warehouse that’s playing host to an underground fight. Luckily for him, his opponent is busy celebrating so he has plenty of time to recover, get back up and knock him the fuck out with one punch. As he walks off he sees a man in a military uniform and motions for them to follow him.

That man is Georg Doerfflinger (Rafael Cansino; What No One Tells the Bride) and he has a need for Noah’s certain set of skills, but he isn’t interested. Not until Georg tells him he’ll have a chance to get revenge on Karl Mueller, the man who murdered his wife. It seems Mueller, who is a human trafficker, has expanded into the plutonium market, and the government can’t be having that.

From here Operation Black Ops’ writer/director Jamaal Burden (Abominable, Tales from the Other Side) gives us the expected scenes of Noah putting his old team back together. That’s complicated by his past involvement with Schroder’s (Mike Ferguson; Devilreaux, Colonials) sister, Eric’s (Paul Bikibili; Roots, City of Tales) mother, sister and ex-wife and with Chicago (Cris “Cyborg” Justino; Fight Valley) herself. Parker (Mike Markoff; Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Legend of Hawes) seems to be the only one he doesn’t have issues with,

As all of this is going on there’s a subplot about agents from the FBI, CIA and probably a few others with codenames like Venona (Kelsey Johnson; Soul Hunters, Unlawful Justice), Ivory (Johnny Llanes; The Summer of Massacre, Elves) and Starr (Jenna Pena) having clandestine meetings and talking about a concentration camp and plutonium. This is all pointlessly confusing, even more so once Noah starts saying that the camp was the site of postwar experiments to create a super soldier.

When I say none of this makes any sense I’m serious. It doesn’t help that the characters talk about Ravensbrook, a site in Northern Germany but the press release says they’re attacking a Neo-Nazi compound in Texas that contains nuclear codes. Some of the goons speak German but the attack is on a warehouse that’s obviously somewhere in North America. Honestly, though, if I wasn’t reviewing Operation Black Ops, I wouldn’t have cared enough to try and figure it out.

The attack itself is about what you would expect from this kind of low-budget action film. There is a lot of gunplay and a couple of halfway-decent fights. There’s the usual CGI blood spray and, even worse, computer-generated blood trickling down someone’s skull. The real problem is that neither the attack nor Operation Black Ops itself has a proper conclusion. The film just ends in the middle of things. I’m pretty sure one of the crew died but the fates of the others are a mystery, as are how the injured got injured. There’s also no resolution to any of the plot threads, including Noah’s revenge.

I’m not sure if there’s supposed to be a sequel that resolves all of this or if they ran out of money before they could film the scenes that would explain it all. Either way, Operation Black Ops closes on a frustrating and insulting note. The question is if any of the viewers will have stuck around to be insulted.

*½  1.5/5

Uncork’d Entertainment have released Operation Black Ops to Digital Platforms and on DVD today, July 11th.

Review originally posted on Voices From the Balcony

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