Operation: Endgame Fouad Mikati

Operation: Endgame Fouad Mikati
Destined for life as a blemished cult object, Operation: Endgame is wisely a direct to video release. Not to say that it's inferior to bland and safe studio releases like Cop Out, just that it's uneven, unpolished and peculiar. A top-secret underground base housing two teams of government assassins meant to keep each other in check use codenames based on the Tarot deck. Unstable head of the organization the Devil (Jeffrey Tambor, Arrested Development) is murdered by an unknown assailant on the day a new recruit, tagged the Fool (Joe Anderson, The Crazies), shows up. The already volatile grouping decides to split up and pair with a member of the opposing team to search out the killer. Making matters worse, somebody has initiated the facility's self-destruct sequence, dubbed Operation: Endgame. Ludicrous levels of deadpan comedic violence ensue, utilizing office supplies to often hilariously grotesque effect. Far more talent is on display in front of the camera than behind it during the frequently gender-mixed throw downs that comprise the bulk of the picture. Emilie de Ravin (Lost) is brimming with psychosis as Heirophant, more than holding her own against Ving Rhames' Judgement. Ellen Barkin relishes the role of lead callous bitch Empress, to Bob Odenkirk's Emperor. Beth Grant (Donnie Darko) plays the head of human resources, watching the ridiculous horror unfold with the surveillance team, who function as awkward geek versions of the grumpy old men from The Muppet Show. That's a lot of cast before even mentioning the best bringers of filth and smarm, Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine) and Adam Scott (Step Brothers), and there's more to go. Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) shuffles around as a bizarre, menacing tunnel dwelling rogue agent, while Odette Yustman (Cloverfield) and Maggie Q (Live Free of Die Hard) provide ass-kicking eye candy. A deeper agenda involving the change of power from Bush to Obama is clumsily handled and the use of real news footage never coheres with the carnival of silly mayhem making up the meat of the film. A bit of behind-the-scenes goofing with Rob Corddry and the stunt team is included, along with alternate opening and endings for a movie that doesn't have a satisfactory introduction or conclusion. If the cast and over-the-top office violence appeal to you, there are worse ways to waste time than Operation: Endgame. (Anchor Bay)