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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
The Operative (Rental) (2000)

The Operative (Rental) (2000)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 99:51
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Lee

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Brian Bosworth
Case ?
RPI Rental Music Peter Allen

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The things I do to protect other viewers, and other reviewers, from really bad films...

    The first exposure I had to the total lack of acting talent from former footballer Brian Bosworth was the film Stone Cold, a piece so well written that our hero falls four stories through a plate glass ceiling and merely says "oof". In case you're wondering, Bosworth's effort in this film, The Operative, is only better because he attempts to take on two roles - a former CIA operative, and what appears to be some kind of rural American tycoon. However, I am getting ahead of myself by mentioning that, so I will try to start from the beginning.

    To be honest, I was only barely aware of a plot through most of the film. The film starts with Alec Carville (Brian Bosworth) escorting his partner and some kind of scientist out of USSR territory. Alec is captured by Soviet soldiers and left to rot in what looks like a mental hospital for eleven years. Once he escapes, he is given a task by a former Soviet military man - steal a painting belonging to Felix Grady (Brian Bosworth) and bring it back so the boss can sell it for a lot of money. However, things don't quite work out as they were planned...

    To be brutally honest, I was flat-out bored through most of this film. How it could possibly have attained an MA rating for violence beggars belief, as it makes the average James Bond film look like RoboCop. The script is a joke, the acting is terrible, and the production values reek of being made for analogue TV.

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Transfer Quality


    If you'll recall that last sentence in the plot synopsis, in particular my statement that the production values reek of the film being made with analogue TV in mind, then you should know what is coming in this section of the review.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and it is obviously not 16x9 Enhanced. There are two possibilities that spring to mind when explaining this - first, this film really was shot with analogue TV in mind, and this is how it was supposed to be presented. The second is that this is a Pan And Scan version, which is very likely if the first possibility is not true, judging by the scene compositions.

    This is not what I would call a sharp transfer. In fact, I wouldn't discount the possibility of the film having been shot on videotape, considering that interlacing artefacts are visible at such places as 28:49, when Brian Bosworth and his cohorts are getting out of a car. The shadow detail is pretty sad, with blacks being exactly that, but there is no low-level noise.

    The colours are also pretty sad-looking: a lot of the time, they appear faded and washed out, like they were painted onto the source material and left in the sun for a few months. There are no composite artefacts, but that's the best thing that can be said for this presentation.

    MPEG artefacts were not apparent in the picture at any time, although some shots have a limited depth of field that strongly suggests a lot of information has been discarded from the backgrounds. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some minor telecine wobble in the opening credits, and some aliasing. The worst instance of aliasing came at 12:26, when the lines on a pillow took on a sort of moire effect. Film artefacts were not generally noticed, although some very small amounts of dirt did appear from time to time on the source material.

    There are no subtitles of any kind on this disc, so those who have hearing impairments, people who don't speak English, or who have trouble understanding the spoken dialogue (more on this later), are out of luck.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    While this is not the worst audio transfer I have ever heard in my years of reviewing, it is not far off it.

    There is but one soundtrack on this DVD: the original English dialogue, encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 with surround-encoding at a bitrate of 224 kilobits per second.

    The dialogue is terrible, to be kind about it. Brian Bosworth has never been known for speaking clearly, but the amount of time one will spend straining to hear the dialogue will far exceed the amount of time one can simply relax and just listen. In addition to the dialogue being frequently inaudible, the music often overwhelms the dialogue and makes it even harder to make out. There were no discernable problems with audio sync, although the few passages where the dialogue can be clearly heard have a rather ADRed feel to them.

    The music in this film is credited to a man by the name of Peter Allen. Like the film, it is flat and boring, with nothing to really engage the viewer.

    The surround channels were used in an effort to separate the music and some minor directional effects from the dialogue, but when all is said and done, this soundtrack really is a surround-encoded effort that sounds just like a 1.0 Dolby Digital effort. The soundtrack could be played through a television speaker, and the listener wouldn't miss a thing.

    The subwoofer was not used at all by the soundtrack, and the flat gunshots in the soundtrack could really have used it.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu is moderately animated with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.


    This three minute and seven second trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is a version of this title available in Region 1, but its running length has been stated by Amazon as being 97 minutes. If this is correct, then Region 4 gets the better deal because the film is uncensored, even if you have to sit through it for a couple of minutes longer.


    The Operative is not a "so bad it's good" type of film. It is even worse - it is so bad that you'll want to do horrible things to the person who recommended it to you.

    The video transfer is very ordinary.

    The audio transfer is terrible.

    The extra is pretty ordinary.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Friday, July 05, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

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