'Covert One: The Hades Factor'
(Stephen Dorff, Mira Sorvino, et al / DVD / NR / 2006 / Sony Pictures)
Overview: Based on Robert Ludlum's novel, The Hades Factor puts a bio-terrorism spin on a good old-fashioned spy thriller storyline for this tense TV miniseries. Stephen Dorff is top-billed as a former spy turned medical researcher who is pulled back into the espionage business when a new and mysterious disease erupts simultaneously in three military-sensitive regions. The target of the investigation centers on another covert operative (Mira Sorvino), who made off with a black-market virus in the middle of a government sting.
DVD Verdict: 'The Hades Factor' was a television miniseries that aired on CBS. Clocking in at a bulging 165 minutes, it will require a substantial commitment to hang with the Covert One crew. Will your dedication pay off? It depends. What are your feelings about sitting through lots of plot and talking, a slight amount of action, loads of "spy music," a derivative virus doomsday threat and a frustratingly foreseeable conclusion? 'The Hades Factor' is a slick, polished production and staffed with a strong cast. What ultimately leads to its undoing and its descent into the realm of mediocrity is the story. It flirts with edginess and relevance in the beginning, then traipses into cliché and the usual "we suck" theme that infiltrates so many of these political thrillers. It's like we can't get a decent action flick that excludes us as the bad guys in some degree. Maybe this is all a gigantic spoiler, but anyone who's seen any movie similar to this will likely predict the outcome (and the big bad at the end of the conspiracy). Look, I'm sorry if I gave too much away, especially as this thing is so plot-driven, but this "twist" that has infected my old-fashioned red-meat American action movie storytelling for far too long. So, screw you self-loathing screenwriters! This is a Widescreen presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of English Languages and Subtitles.