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Operation Black Ops Review

July 31, 2023 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Operation: Black Ops Tito Ortiz Image Credit: Uncork'd Entertainment
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Operation Black Ops Review  

Operation Black Ops Review

Tito Ortiz– Noah
Cris Cyborg– Chicago
Kelsey Johnson– Venona (or Finona?)
Mike Ferguson– Schroder
Mike Markoff– Parker
Paul Bikibili– Erick

Directed by Jamaal Burden
Screenplay by Jamaal Burden

Distributed by Uncork’d Entertainment

Not Rated
Runtime– 80 minutes

Operation Black Ops is available on digital and DVD starting July 11th, 2023.

Image Credit: Uncork’d Entertainment

Operation Black Ops, written and directed by Jamaal Burden and available on digital and DVD starting July 11th, 2023, stars Tito Ortiz as Noah, a badass, disgruntled ex-Special Forces operator turned underground MMA fighter who is called back into service by the military to stop a group of racists from using a nuclear weapon. Noah is allowed to put together his own team, enlisting old friends like Schroder (Mike Ferguson) and Chicago (MMA legend Cris Cyborg), to stop the bad guys from starting World War III. Or blowing up the world. Or something. It’s actually pretty confusing as to what’s actually happening in Operation Black Ops. Because while Noah is putting his team together there’s some bullshit involving the CIA, a woman who escapes captivity and kills a fat guy in a hotel room for some reason (the woman, I believe, is played by Kelsey Johnson and called Venona, or maybe it’s Finona. I’m not sure), some sort of super soldier program (maybe), and going to Texas although you swear to God someone said a bunch of potentially evil stuff is happening in Frankfurt, Germany. There’s also the very beginning of the movie, which involves a flashback scene to, maybe, World War II, where a bunch of soldiers do a bunch of stuff, there’s a “shootout,” and then a guy explodes for some reason. What does this flashback, which you don’t realize is a flashback until you realize that it takes place in the “past” and the setting looks kind of different from the stuff that’s “modern,” have to do with anything? Damned if I know. I’m not even sure the movie knows what the opening flashback is supposed to mean. It’s just stuff happening, which is what the movie is filled with. Stuff happening.

It takes over fifty minutes for Noah to assemble his team once he agrees to get back into the black ops game. There’s a bunch of “character relationship building” between Noah and Schroder and Chicago and the other members of his team. Some of it is kind of interesting in a weird way (like Schroder being a kids’ soccer coach before Noah gets him to agree to come back for one more mission) but none of it pays off or really matters. And then there’s whatever the hell Kelsey Johnson’s character is doing. I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on with her.

Then there’s an inexplicable time jump where Noah’s team infiltrates the site of the bad guys but we don’t actually see any of it. Then a bunch of stuff happens. We do see Noah and Chicago shoot some people (Noah is your standard movie black ops leader, leading the charge, while Chicago is a sniper) and fight some people, but none of it is staged well or fun in any way whatsoever. There’s a big double cross plot moment, I think, but you don’t know what’s going on so it doesn’t matter. Kelsey Johnson’s character also fits into the end of the movie but, again, I have no idea who she is supposed to be or what her character’s deal is. The movie ends with Noah’s team decimated, Noah running away to potentially star in a sequel that makes sense (or at least has a goddamn story that your average movie watcher can follow), and some CIA (?) guy getting shot in the head. So, yeah, Operation Black Ops is a mess.

Did it have to be this way? Did Operation Black Ops have to be such a raging disaster? Probably not. Had writer/director Burden fashioned a coherent script and story that likely would have helped things. But then it’s also possible that Operation Black Ops was a troubled production from the beginning and that what Operation Black Ops turned out to be was the best everyone involved could cobble together. I don’t know. I’d like to give everyone involved in the movie the benefit of the doubt that they all wanted to make a kick ass low budget action flick with two real deal MMA legends starring but the production just shit the bed and it didn’t happen, but, again, I don’t know. The only thing I do know is that Operation Black Ops is awful.

Image Credit: Uncork’d Entertainment

I will give credit to star Ortiz for throwing himself into the Noah role and managing to get through some complicated dialogue. I did like how Ortiz and Mike Ferguson had a sort of “badass bro” chemistry that could work well in some other sort of movie. And Cris Cyborg tries very hard to be interesting and almost succeeds. The other members of Noah’s team also try very hard to be interesting, but the incompetence of the movie undermines them at every turn.

Image Credit: Uncork’d Entertainment

And then there’s Kelsey Johnson’s mysterious character: what the hell is going on with her? What does she have to do with anything? I have no idea. It’s just mind boggling.

Another good thing? The movie’s soundtrack is pretty good. Epic, even. Too bad it’s part of this movie.

I really wanted Operation Black Ops to succeed. I wanted it to be awesome. I wanted another decent low budget kick ass action movie for the world to embrace. Instead, the Operation Black Ops we got is a disaster from start to finish. It’s not a good movie at all. It’s barely watchable. It’s something you should avoid with all your energy. Even if you’re a “bad movie” fan, don’t bother with Operation Black Ops. It isn’t fun. It’s just depressing. It stinks. Avoid it.

Don’t see Operation Black Ops. Even if you’re a “the cinema of Tito Ortiz” completist, just say that you saw it and move on with your life. It’s not worth your actual time.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 20.

Explosions: A few. They’re not very interesting.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A guy shoots another guy for some reason, exploding guy, red folder hooey, serious stabbing, some of the worst looking blood in movie history, underground MMA fighting, blood spitting, a gooey, wet punch, a hidden blade, an off screen explosion, two guys are killed, an envelope, military recruitment, two guys talking on a bench, some bullshit about neo Nazis having plutonium, kids playing soccer, a joke about a vagina, hostage rescuing or something, a menacing fat guy, backstory, serious ball kicking, a brief scuffle between two MMA legends that should have been a goddamn action fighting set piece, some bullshit about a Nazi concentration camp, multiple smoke stacks, throat slitting, sniper hooey, off screen action that we should have seen since Operation Black Ops is supposed to be an action movie but we don’t for whatever reason, exploding door, multiple headshots, of screen major character wounding, serious head stomping, multiple hand-to-hand fights, serious neck breaking, a chopper, and a guy gets shot in the head.

Kim Richards? None.

Gratuitous: A flashback that we don’t know is a flashback, exploding guy, Tito Ortiz, slow motion people cheering, a hostage video, an overhead zoom into an abandoned building, a mention of “nuclear roulette,” American spire of honor, black and white war footage, kids playing soccer, bro misogyny, Cris Cyborg, a booze flask, a shipyard filled with shipping containers, Tito Ortiz assembling his team, a fat guy named “White Ice,” a drunk guy shooting a gun while laying on an Adirondack chair, talk of $15 million, people arguing in the next room, whiskey, an upside down “4” used as a Nazi symbol, hot wiring a truck, off screen action that really should be on screen action, Cris Cyborg as a sniper, a smoke grenade, a chopper, and a guy gets shot in the head.

Best lines: “Who do you work for?,” “Long way from Sofia, eh, old friend?,” “Always knew I could count on you, old friend,” “Finona? Finona?,” “There are no bookies here, Noah. What do you want?,” “That rodeo is long gone, cowboy. Chicago will never fly. That I promise you,” “Northern Germany,” “I’ll ask again, do you believe in the mission?,” “I believe in this fucking mission,” “Final days? What the hell is he talking about?,” “Parker, cut the sht. We’ve got a gig,” Be quiet. This place belongs to the militia,” “Man, oh, man, all that frustration after ten years,” “Look, wake me up when they start making out,” “Plutonium has a way of making people feel empowered,” “Hey, everyone, it’s black ops. We’re talking low brow, high profile, behind enemy territory shit. If we get pinched they’re gonna erase our names from the goddamn yearbook. Like we never fucking existed. So, no, this isn’t a great plan and, no, I don’t have all of the answers. But unless you’re willing to die up on that hill of no pension and co-ed healthcare and the giant fuck you that the government gave us be my guest. One job. One job and we’re set. No more dishonorable discharge. No more soccer games. No more pull target practice,” “I’m in. But it has to be all of us,” “Blowing up a couple Nazis seems like a great way to go,” and “Here’s to herpes, my friend.”

The final score: review Bad
The 411
Operation Black Ops is awful. I really wanted it to to succeed. I did. I wanted it to be awesome. I wanted another decent low budget kick ass action movie featuring two real deal MMA legends for the world to embrace. Instead, the Operation Black Ops we got is a disaster from start to finish. It’s not a good movie at all. It’s barely watchable. It’s something you should avoid with all your energy. Even if you’re a “bad movie” fan, don’t bother with Operation Black Ops. It isn’t fun. It’s just depressing. It stinks. Avoid it.