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‘Agent Revelation’ review: Overstuffed sci-fi action think piece

A refresher would have been nice.

Agent Revelation is the sequel to a 2017 movie called Agent. This is important to know because if you go into this without this knowledge like I did, you will be confused. The story in the sequel is about Jim Yung (writer-director Derek Ting) a rejected CIA analyst. After being exposed to an ash called “dust”, he is given superpowers. It is soon revealed that aliens are on Earth and Jim must find out why.

Agent Revelation tries to catch audiences up through the use of flashbacks. It is hit and miss with the audience left wondering more often than not if certain events were explained in the first film. (The gaining of superpowers was in the first movie; the revelation about Jim being sterile seems to be a new one.) This begs the obvious: why be frustrated at a sequel doing sequel things if you have never seen the original? 

The answer is just as simple. The movie is not marketed as a sequel. It was not until I had did some research after having so many questions did I realize what I was watching. Since Agent Revelation is so dependent on its internal story, it is an odd decision to say the least. For example, flashbacks are scenes from the first film, but for someone not familiar with the Agent franchise, they seem to be a storytelling device.

Trying to judge the movie as a stand-alone is just as difficult. Agent Revelation tries to cram in a lot in its hour and a half run time. It is a science fiction action movie about a man who has been adopted  but cannot have children and has dealt with racism and bullying his entire life. Everything is inelegantly mashed together meaning little of it leaves the emotional resonance they should.

Agent Revelation veers into very familiar territory. It turns out the aliens are after a powerful magical source called mana. The government is secretly run by the aliens and the heroes are covertly financed by a billionaire (Michael Dorn). It makes for a very predictable movie. On the plus side, this dedication to following a formula leaves little room for plot holes.

This also means the sci-fi elements are left to do the heavy lifting. Agent Revelation has some decent fight scenes and the aliens are imaginative, but it never quite brings the whole story together. The plot seems more concerned with building on a grander story. Which makes seeing the first installment that much more important.

Agent Revelation comes to digital platforms January 22

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