Operation: Endgame is a film of rare ambition and even rarer miscalculation. There’s a tragic, almost inconceivable gulf between the bone-dry, pitch-black Dr. Strangelove-style military-industrial-complex satire the filmmakers set out to make, and the incoherent, painful, borderline-unwatchable mess that’s being shuffled to DVD in the dim hopes it can eke out a few dollars from gullible audiences intrigued by the cavalcade of name actors in the cast. Operation: Endgame has many problems, but a lack of star-power isn’t one of them, though it remains a mystery what could have attracted Rob Corddry, Ellen Barkin, Maggie Q, Zach Galifianakis, Adam Scott, Tropic Thunder’s Brandon T. Jackson, Bob Odenkirk, Ving Rhames, and Jeffrey Tambor to material this dire.
The convoluted plot revolves around Joe Anderson’s first day on the job as part of a mysterious American covert espionage organization at war with another mysterious covert sinister American espionage organization deep within the bowels of a huge underground complex. Soon, Anderson is surrounded by lunatics, all played by comic ringers. Rob Corddry nearly gives himself an aneurysm delivering foul-mouthed machine-gun tirades to everyone within earshot. Jeffrey Tambor bumbles through his thankless role as a figurehead known as “Devil,” whose assassination sparks the action. And Galifianakis pops up for an extended cameo as “Hermit,” a mysterious figure who doesn’t appear until the film is nearly over.
Operation: Endgame goes out of its way to delineate each cast member’s single determining characteristic—Ving Rhames, for example, is a MacGyver-like genius with weapons; drunken ex-golden boy Corddry is filled with rage; Emilie de Ravin is cute as a button and utterly unhinged—but they all quickly devolve into one big interchangeable ball of crazy. The film follows suit. For all its pretensions to biting satire, Endgame offers little more than the sad spectacle of an overqualified cast violently murdering each other inside tiny, depressing little offices while wearing snazzy business attire. The Richard Kelly-produced disappointment is consequently less In The Loop than Celebrity Deathmatch: Quirky Alternative Comic All-Stars Edition.
Key features: A pointless alternate opening and ending joins a meaningless making-of featurette.