Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Operation: Endgame (2010) - ActionFest Buffet: Plate #3

On the Menu: OPERATION: ENDGAME (2010)

Ingredients: Rob Corddry, Ellen Barkin, Ving Rhames, Maggie Q, Zach Galifianakis, Bob Odenkirk, Beth Grant, Jeffrey Tambor, Adam Scott, Emilie de Ravin, Odette Yustman, Brandon T. Jackson and Joe Anderson. Directed by Fouad Mikati. Run time: 87 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: I was psyched to see a comedy thriller on the ActionFest schedule, especially one including Zach Galifianakis, Rob Corddry and Ving Rhames in the cast.

The program noted the Friday (8/16) showing would be the world premiere, but I was scheduled to work that night. However, I had Tom cover for me at work so I could see it Saturday afternoon.

It's the day of President Obama's inauguration, and a government operation has just found its newest recruit (Anderson).

This operation has an underground facility housing two teams of government assassins. Each team member is named for a Tarot card, and is either high-strung, paranoid, mentally disturbed or full of sexual tension.

It's crazy enough already, but then someone kills their boss and hacks into the main computer causing the facility to go into lockdown and self-destruct mode. Everyone's a suspect, especially the new guy.

To make things even more interesting, one team got a directive earlier in the day to eliminate the other. Let the corporate downsizing begin.

Tough to Swallow: The print shown at ActionFest wasn't the finished product. Color timing and video effects were not complete for numerous scenes, which is odd because a seemingly in-the-know post on the movie's IMDb.com messageboard on December 8, 2008 stated the film had a couple months of post-production left at that time.

Anderson was not the right choice for the lead... not by a long shot. Tambor and Odenkirk were severely underused.

I have no problem with foul language, but its usage in this movie is excessive and grading to the ear within the first half-hour. And, the schtick with the two "security" guys gets old just as quickly.

**SPOILER** You can see Heirophant still breathing after she has been killed.

This has nothing to do with the film itself, but the ActionFest program misspelled four of the actors' names in the write-up: Bakrin, Corrdry, de Raven, Galifanakis and Galafanakis. It also misspelled the original title as "Rouge's Gallery" instead of Rogue's Gallery. Nice way to promote the world premiere of a film. Sheesh.

Something to Chew On: Theater audience = 30 (before walk-out). The Friday world premiere (a day earlier) may have had fewer empty seats.

The film's original title was Rogue's Gallery.

This is Mikati's directorial debut.

Writer Brian Watanabe won the 2004 Screenwriting Expo with the script for this film.

Richard Kelly, director of DONNIE DARKO, is one of the executive producers. This is actually the fifth film produced by Darko Entertainment.

According to Wikipedia, "Operation Endgame is a 2003-2012 plan under implementation by the Office of Detention and Removal Operations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain and deport all removable aliens and 'suspected terrorists' currently living in the United States by 2012."

OPERATION: ENDGAME is scheduled for a theatrical release in the fall of 2010.

The film currently has a 6.5 user rating on IMDb.com (32 votes).

Aftertaste: I really wanted to like this. Maybe my expectations were too high after seeing the cast list.

Corddry pretty much takes over the movie with an even more obnoxious version of his Lou character in HOT TUB TIME MACHINE. Galifianakis provides the second-best performance, albeit slightly odd. Yustman and Q are decent eye candy. The acting seriously drops off after that. Anderson is a jittery mess; it seems like he is trying a Christopher Walken impression through most of the movie. And, as I mentioned before, Tambor and Odenkirk are not used to their potential.

The plot goes from whodunit to survival of the fittest with a free-for-all killing spree involving office supplies. Throw in some real politics, and it makes the story a little convoluted. Or maybe more convoluted than it already is. That being said, most of the kills are gruesome, so it's got that going for it, which is nice.

Again, most, if not all, of the effects scenes were not complete in the print at ActionFest. I tried to overlook that, but it did take me out of the movie more often than not, especially when the words "COLOR/VFX NOT COMPLETE" took up the bottom third of the screen in those scenes.

I'm not sure how much better the movie would be with completed effects. I really can't blame the lady in front of me for walking out after about 50 minutes.


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