Black Ops is a 2013 action thriller film directed by Matt Richards. After the box-office success, but very poor critical reception of the original series, Transbaum Films decided to make a brand new, but different Black Ops film. While a part of the Black Ops series, it is not considered to be part of the series canon, and instead is considered to be in its own separate universe.
The film follows the middle-aged Brad Avery (Phil Martinez), who faked his death in 1992 in order to escape a suicide mission and retired to a more peaceful life. In 2013, he is discovered and is recruited back into the Lovian Secret Service to stop a rogue soldier from using an arsenal of stolen nuclear weapons on Lovia.
The film opened on June 20, 2013 and received mildly positive reviews from film critics, who praised the improved plot, the main character's sense of humor and the action scenes. Criticism however, was aimed at the character development.
The year is 1992. After escaping a suicide mission on the island of San Columbo in the South Pacific, Avery (Phil Martinez) defects aboard a cargo plane back to Lovia, and upon arrival to his home country, he changes his identity and 'retires' to a more peaceful life as a travel writer. Twenty years later, in 2012, he is rediscovered by Lovian Secret Service agents and recruited back into the agency against his own will, in order to capture and kill a deranged Lovian soldier, who has reportedly stolen nuclear weapons and is planning to use them on his own country.
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Transbaum wanted to produce an all-new sequel of the original Black Ops since the early 2000s, however this project did not generate much interest from filmmakers and instead, was scrapped. However, later on in the decade, interest in the films grew, eventually leading to Transbaum deciding to remake the first film. In 2008, Arthur Jefferson was considered as director, but he cancelled the project due to work on the 2010 drama The Lovely. The project was eventually abandoned until April 2010, when Cops superstar Matt Richards was hired to be director. In a January 2012 interview, Matt commented that he was "overjoyed and excited" to be working on a Black Ops movie. He also stated that he was a fan of the film series ever since his mid-teens and always wanted to direct a sequel or a remake, that is, if one was ever planned.
After being hired as a director, Matt made some minor changes to the script, adding in spies instead of just soldiers. Principal photography begun on March 28, 2012 and ended on June 15. Principal scenes for Black Ops were filmed in Noble City (Artista, Downtown and Highway 1), at the Noble City Airport and in Newhaven, while scenes which included special effects were filmed in studio. The film's highway sequence was filmed entirely on location on the Highway 1, which caused some controversy for commuters travelling to and from work in Noble City. Regardless of this, filming went without a hitch and was followed by a ten month-long post-production phase, during which visual effects were created for the film.
This is the first Black Ops to have gained positive reviews from the community of film critics. Praise was reserved for many aspects of the film, including plot, casting and special effects. Negative criticism however stemmed from the poor character development.
Black Ops was very successful at the Lovian box office, grossing L$3.5 million against a L$750,000 budget.