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. "
who worked in post-production at Phoenician during the Agent
Red crisis let me in on this tidbit of knowledge.
in the day we used to pass around a VHS of the first assembly
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.
direct from fixer-upper screenwriter Steve Latshaw...
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.
Video Store Shelf
RED was an uncredited remake of COUNTER MEASURES which starred
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).
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
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.
footage from Solo starring
Mario Van Peebles:
footage from Lundgren's Storm Catcher
footage from Solo:
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."
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
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
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
Latshaw to the webmaster, 2001
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.
footage from Counter
starring Michael Dudikoff:
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
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
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
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
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.