Operation: Endgame

Operation: Endgame is one of those movies that by the end of the day you’ll forget that you even watched. Not because it’s particularly bad, but because it’s so astoundingly mediocre that it can hardly be considered a movie. Sure, there are a few lines that earn a laugh and a few mildly entertaining scenes, but for the most part this direct-to-DVD actioner is so devoid of filmic nutrition that you’ll wonder just how it got made in the first place. Alpha and Omega are two assassination squads that exist in kind of a checks-and-balances system to one another, and for whatever reason they work out of the same underground lair. Both teams are supervised by The Devil (Jeffrey Tambor) until someone mysteriously kills him and activates Operation: Endgame, a system which locks down their subterranean office and starts a two-hour timer, at the end of which fiery waves of napalm will obliterate any evidence the teams ever existed. The teams need to band together to find their way out of the death trap before the timer hits zero.

Where this film suffers most is in its complete inability to make the viewer give a shit about it. There are so many characters that you can scarcely pick a favorite, and even if you can the chances of him or her being alive for more than three minutes are slim to nil. The story mutates from what’s listed above into nothing but the rival teams trying to kill each other, only making you care a little bit because it means that eventually everyone will be dead and the movie will have to end. Similarly, the Endgame timer starts at 1:40:00 and moves faster than real time until it hits about the 10-minute mark, which constantly lets you know that you’re just that much closer to the end of the movie.

As funny as the trailer makes the characters seem, they all turn out to be irredeemably bland. Rob Corddry shows flare in the swearing department, but that turns out to be his only purpose. Ving Rhames as Judgement is the show stealer, but as mentioned only lasts about 20 minutes. Even worse, because there are so many characters, he actually only gets a cumulative minute or two of screen time, during which he does pronounce to Emilie de Ravin, “I’m nine inches.....uncut.” Probably the best line in the movie. De Ravin’s character is a shockingly bad Sookie Stackhouse clone, and Ellen Barkin’s slutty Alpha Leader exists purely to spout cringe-inducing lines about pussy and participate in sloppy, fumbly fight scenes.

The film’s one strong suit, however, is its creative deaths, paired with a surprisingly solid makeup team. Seeing someone stabbed in the neck with a staple remover is refreshing compared to the rest of the watered-down film, especially when coupled with the brutal-looking wound left behind. The only downside to this is that the young director makes sure to get a close-up shot EVERY SINGLE TIME something like this happens, which combines with the student-film post-production work to give the whole thing an amateurish feel, and not in a good, Cloverfield sort of way.

There are certainly worse movies than Operation: Endgame, some of them with bigger budgets and better teams behind them, but the sheer number of characters and the contrived nature of almost all of the dialogue bog this film down so hard that you’ll be checking your watch every few seconds, wondering how it is that time can pass so slowly. If you’re looking for something entertaining on a Saturday night, don’t grab Operation: Endgame from your local Red Box. It’s not worth your time. There’s not a lot to say about the special features attached to Operation: Endgame, simply because all of them together add up to roughly 10 minutes of completely useless mess. You’ll be confronted by a so-called “Behind the Scenes” feature, which is nothing more than a montage of footage that technically was shot behind the scenes, but which gives no insight into the film as there’s not even one interview to compliment the way-too-long collage of the director pointing at things and talking to actors.

All that’s left after that is an alternate opening and an alternate ending. While the alternate opening is three minutes of material mercifully chopped from the film, the “alternate ending” isn’t really an alternate anything. It simply adds about 10 seconds of scrambled footage from the Obama inauguration.

Everything about this film is as unnecessary as actually watching it. If you’ve seen literally every other movie that’s ever been made, then sure, pick up Operation: Endgame. But all you’ll get out of it is one or two memorable quotes and a bad case of the oh-my-god-why-won’t-this-ends. A last-resort film at its finest.