"Operation: Endgame" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

8/14/2010 Posted by Admin

"Operation: Endgame" 

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

Directed by Fouad Mikati, Written by Sam Levinson and Brian Watanabe, 87 Minutes, Rated R.

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"Operation: Endgame" is a baffling film. It begins as a sort of silly spy movie, but as it goes on it goes from spy spoof to slasher movie to political thriller to any other random action genre under the sun--none of them particularly well done.

Joe Anderson portrays codename "Fool," a new recruit to the Alpha Team, a group of assassins working for the United States government. The Alpha Team works side by side with the Omega Team, another group of assassins, and together the two form a sort of checks and balances system of assassination.

Fool is introduced to the various assassins, a veritable who's who of modern B-list comedy. Rob Corddry's "Chariot" leads the Alpha Team--High Priestess (Maggie Q), Emperor (Bob Odenkirk), and Judgement (Ving Rhames), who speaks pretty much entirely in puns based on his name. Then there's the Omega Team, led by Empress (Ellen Barkin) and made up of Heirophant (Emilie de Ravin), Magician (Adam Scott), Temperence (Odette Yustman), and Tower (Brandon T. Jackson). The two teams are overseen by Devil (Jeffrey Tambor), and when, after just a few hours into Fool's first day, he is found assassinated. An emergency self-destruction protocol, Operation Endgame, is put into effect, and the two groups split up and quite basically start fighting to the death while looking for a way out of their underground facility before it all goes up in flames.

Despite this simple Alpha versus Omega premise, it's a pretty convoluted and at times nearly incomprehensible film. It's set on the day of Barack Obama's inauguration, and there's an odd self-important undertone to the whole thing, with some really off-the-wall imagery and paralleling late in the film with Obama's speech and stuff exploding suggesting some sort of vague political stuff (out with the old, in with the new, if you will) that comes off more as a joke than actual commentary, though perhaps that was the intention. First-time director Fouad Mikati really runs wild with the tone, so it's kind of difficult to tell what he's going for a lot of the time (it's very reminiscent of "Smokin' Aces" in that respect).

The writing itself isn't particularly good, with a lot of the dialogue ranging from just silly action cliche to pointless and overly vulgar bickering, but the performances are all so charismatic and out there (especially from Corddry) that it works some of the time. Overall it feels like a lot of the humor derives from the fact that we're watching a bunch of comedic actors engage in serious action--that novelty wears thin eventually, but it's definitely amusing to watching actors like Adam Scott, Corddry and Bob Odenkirk have fistfights and play it totally straight.

Aside from the main cast, there are also brief appearances from Zack Galifianakis as Hermit, a loner who works independent of the two teams and who is pretty easily the funniest part of the film for his few appearances. I have a feeling, though, that there are people who will go into the film (advertised pretty heavily with Galifianakis) expecting a lot more of him (and more of his "Hangover" character). Don't expect a lot of Galifianakis.

Really, "Operation: Endgame" isn't very good, and once the utter confusion and amusement from the situations themselves wears off, it's really just watching a bunch of underrated actors continue to display why they're underrated--because they act in films like this.

Grade: D+

View the trailer for "Operation: Endgame" below. What are your thoughts?

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