DVD Review: Fascinating Cast Can’t Save ‘Operation: Endgame’

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CHICAGO – As someone who has often gone home with a straight-to-DVD action movie that I hadn’t heard of before entering the video store, I know how easy it is to get drawn into something that looks a little bit left-of-center. “Operation: Endgame” is undeniably unusual but that doesn’t mean it’s any good.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 2.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 2.0/5.0

Knowing that it’s the only strength of the film, Anchor Bay and the team behind this truly odd action-comedy hybrid have put most of the cast on the DVD cover including, clockwise, Ving Rhames, Brandon T. Jackson (“Tropic Thunder”), Odette Yustman (“The Unborn”), Rob Corddry (“Hot Tub Time Machine”), Joe Anderson (“The Crazies”), Jeffrey Tambor, Ellen Barkin, Zach Galifianakis (“The Hangover”), Maggie Q (“Mission: Impossible III”), and Emile de Ravin (“Lost”).

I can picture the person in the video store who has recently seen “Hot Tub Time Machine” and loves “The Hangover” being drawn to the film and Ving Rhames and Maggie Q could bring in a few action fans. Both comedy and action lovers will be disappointed by a silly script, poor direction, and ridiculous story. All these talented actors (and even a few more who aren’t on the crowded cover including Adam Scott of “Party Down,” Bob Odenkirk, Tim Bagley, and Michael Hitchcock) and “Operation: Endgame” merely serves to prove that you can have an all-star team on the field who will still lose the game if they’re not well-managed.

Operation: Endgame was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 27th, 2010
Operation: Endgame was released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 27th, 2010
Photo credit: Anchor Bay

Anderson plays the new guy on a team of legendary super-spies who picks a bad day to start at his new job. The activities of these government killers are so secret that they go by codenames and work in an underground bunker far below the capital. They have been divided into two teams — Alpha and Omega — under the guidance of one leader known as The Devil (Tambor). When their leader is found murdered, the title operation sets in and the best killers in the world are forced to pick each other off for survival. With a combination of office supplies, everyday items, and actual weapons, “Operation: Endgame” features a kill count higher than most “Friday the 13th” sequels.

“Two assassins walk into a room…” The majority of “Operation: Endgame” follows that simple, repetitive structure and you’d be amazed at how numbing repetitive killing can be. Sure, there’s something fun about watching talented comedians like Adam Scott and Rob Corddry going at it with scissors or a mismatched pair like Emilie de Ravin and Ving Rhames but the film is surprisingly dull. It never finds a rhythm and by the time Ellen Barkin is swinging a flaming golf putter, it’s hard to care what the hell is going on. And the final scenes, set against actual speech from Barack Obama’s Inauguration could be the sole reason this film was buried with barely a theatrical release before going to straight to DVD. It’s an embarrassing ending.

The structure of “Operation: Endgame” promises diminishing returns. As talented stars like Odenkirk, Rhames, and Corddry are knocked off, we’re left with a twist ending that most people will see coming a mile away and the realization that the movie we just watched never added up to anything memorable. The cast is truly fascinating on multiple levels, not the least of which being how many talented people got suckered into something that didn’t use their talents.

o Behind the Scenes of “Operation: Endgame”
o Alternate Opening
o Alternate Ending
o Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation 2.40:1
o Dolby Digital 5.1

‘Operation: Endgame’ stars Joe Anderson, Odette Yustman, Ellen Barkin, Ving Rhames, Brandon T. Jackson, Odette Yustman, Rob Corddry, Jeffrey Tambor, Zach Galifianakis, Maggie Q, Adam Scott, Tim Bagley, Bob Odenkirk, Michael Hitchcock, and Emile de Ravin. It was written by Sam Levinson and directed by Fouad Mikati. It was released on DVD on July 27th, 2010 and is rated R. It runs 82 minutes.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

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