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"After the film was completed, producer Andrew Stevens deemed the movie too inept to be released. Damian Lee screwed things up so bad that writer Steve Latshaw was brought in to at least make the movie half-competent, while Jim Wynorski was hired to direct some new scenes and insert stock footage where appropriate. "

Someone who worked in post-production at Phoenician during the Agent Red crisis let me in on this tidbit of knowledge.

“Back in the day we used to pass around a VHS of the first assembly of Agent Red as it was an example of probably the most unwatchable film ever to be pumped out of that company. We went through three editors and two directors trying to "fix" the film WITHOUT any reshoots, until finally the powers that be were convinced that reshoots HAD to be done. I love the commentary with Damien Lee where there's a cut from a stock shot of a jet to an interior of Dolph as a pilot and he actually has the balls to reference Eisenstein and the "art" of editing. Amazing.”

And direct from fixer-upper screenwriter Steve Latshaw...

“As I recall, 40 minutes of the original 100 minute assembly was dumped, then replaced with 40 new minutes. The original assembly opened with shaky video of Russian bio teams (shaky VIDEO... from sequences supposedly filmed in 1971) and ponderous narration... The film was missing entire halves of dialog sequences between Randolph Mantooth and the President (no footage of the President), the US sub commander and Russian military officers (no Russian military), connective scenes, transition scenes, action scenes only partially covered, etc. We created the new action opening with all the stock from Storm Catcher and Solo, new briefing scenes with Dolph and Stephen Macht, a terrorist attank on an oil tanker, new scenes with President Bill Monroe and new scenes with Steve Franken and Pete Spellos as Russian military leaders…”
“We also added a lot of connective sequences and action pieces to the rest of the film. It was quite a chore. The film itself had an interesting origin. In 1999, at a party at Fred's, Andrew Stevens asked me if I'd like to rewrite
Counter Measures for Dolph Lundgren. I said sure, just name the price. Apparently a short time later, Damian Lee made a deal to write AND direct so they went with him… in fact, one entire sequence from Counter Measures - directed by Fred - was actually dropped whole cloth into Agent Red. In the film, the American sub taken over by terrorists is pursued by another American sub. A tense battle ensues, with the good guys eventually blown out of the water when the terrorists fire "counter measures." They lifted this entire sequence - actors and all - only shooting new footage of the Agent Red terrorists. So the best scene in the movie was directed by Fred Ray.”

excerpt from Your Video Store Shelf May 2005

"AGENT RED was an uncredited remake of COUNTER MEASURES which starred Michael Dudikoff. AGENT RED even went as far as to use footage from an entire sequence from COUNTER MEASURES (they were produced by the same company).

The initial cut of AGENT RED was found to be somewhat lacking. I was hired -solo - to write about 40 new minutes of footage for the film, but did not take screen credit. The release print -I believe credits only Damian Lee with the screenplay. I don't know Kevin Bernhardt and am not aware of what his contribution to the film might have been."

"These were new scenes I wrote in an attempt to create a non-related action opening for the film (used in these pictures to establish that our hero can kick ass). We used stock from STORM CATCHER and SOLO.

stock footage from Solo starring Mario Van Peebles:

stock footage from Lundgren's Storm Catcher

stock footage from Solo:

Other new scenes included the boat detonation sequence, the new briefing scene with Stephen Macht, scenes with Russian military leaders, the US President and a great deal of new linking footage and dialog pickups during the last 40 minutes of the picture."

"I simply viewed the rough cut of the first version of the film, conferred with the new director hired to film the new stuff - and wrote a series of isolated seuqences tied into the appropriate reel number(s)."

"There were number of scenes deleted from the original cut. As I recall, the initial cut of the film was about 94 minutes. The new director [Jim Wynorski] cut about 40 minutes out of the film -which I saw- and believe me, you aren't missing anything. Working with a new cut that ran about 58 minutes, I wrote all the new material. I'm quite certain those scenes cut will never see the light of day." Steve Latshaw to the webmaster, 2001

Not entirely sure this submarine picture above comes from Agent Red (it may be from another Phoenician Entertainment military actioner), but the company sent it to the distributors with the usual color slides. But, we see Dolph Lundgren and his female partner Meilani Paul have their hair wet on the kiss-photo above.

stock footage from Counter Measures starring Michael Dudikoff:

Counter Measures also uses some stock shots (credited in the end titles) and I believe some come from films like John McTiernan's The Hunt of Red October or Tony Scott's USS Alabama

Interview with Steve Latshaw (from Ziggy's Video Realm):

Ziggy: How did you become involved with Agent Red?

Steven Latshaw: In 1998, I was approached by Andrew Stevens to rewrite my script Counter Measures as a Dolph Lundgren film. Some months later, I discovered they had instead hired Damian Lee to do the job (and also direct). I thought nothing more about it. A year and a half later, Andrew came back to me and said the film was in serious trouble.

Ziggy: After the film was initially completed, what happened next?

Steven Latshaw: I suspect there was much hand-wringing, recrimination, and general fear and loathing.

Ziggy: How much of the original filmed material was scrapped?

Steven Latshaw: About 40 minutes.

Ziggy: How much of an improvement would you say the final result was compared to the original product, and in what ways?

Steven Latshaw: 100%. In our version it at least plays as a movie, has action, pacing, and makes sense. (Within its own terribly unique framework.)

Ziggy: Even in its "refined" state, you yourself have mentioned that Agent Red is not really "any good", and the film has since gained a reputation as one of the most horrible action movies in recent years. Do you have any thoughts about the movie's reputation?

Steven Latshaw: As my name is not on it, I am the picture of indifference. At the end of the day, these are just movies. I dare say it plays better after a few drinks.