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2010 – R – 82 Min.
D: Fouad Mikati
S: Joe Anderson – Odette Yustman – Zach Galifianakis – Rob Corddry – Ellen Barkin – Ving Rhames – Maggie Q – Jeffrey Tambor – Emilie De Ravin – Brandon T. Jackson
Blu-Ray Provided by Anchor Bay Entertainment
1080p Widescreen 2.40:1 / Dolby Digital 5.1 or PCM 5.1
Extras: Behind the scenes (10 Min.) – Alternate opening – Alternate ending

Operation: Endgame is an off-balance action comedy that features a large and fairly recognizable cast violently fighting its way through a thin plot pitting opposing government spy groups against each other. It’s straight into the chaos since they all share the same office space in an underground installation known as The Factory. The Alphas have been ordered to kill the Omegas but when the head spy gets wiped and the Endgame program is set into motion (which will blow up the entire facility when the timer counts down) it’s a race not just to escape, but to survive long enough to do so. The new guy (it’s his first day) also has to contend with an old girlfriend who, of course, is on the opposite team. The filmmakers attempt to throw some fast curves here and there, especially towards the end, but the most you can hope for is a raised eyebrow when they hit. You may not always know exactly what twists are coming… but you will know they’re coming. More simply stated; there just aren’t that many surprising surprises. There’s no real characterization to speak of but there’s plenty of fighting and bloodshed. Staple removers, document shredders, flaming golf putters, paper cutter handles, scissors, all these are used to dispatch fellow employees while a couple of surveillance guys at corporate headquarters watch and occasionally fend off the urge to vomit. Oh yeah, so funny. Galifianakis plays an interesting character called The Hermit (they all use code names taken from the Tarot), but doesn’t have enough time on screen for it to matter much. Considering the overall approach, lack of purpose, forced comedy dialogue, and spastic outbursts of violence, it’s hard to imagine what audience this was intended for in the first place. The transfer is solid and represents the cold, bland world of Operation: Endgame as well as can be expected. The soundtrack is also strong with lots of activity and clarity. It’s the movie itself that doesn’t measure up. The brief making of is so much disposable fluff and the alternate opening/ending aren’t worth the effort it takes to push the button selecting them. Approach with caution. - Michael Mackie

2006 – R – 92 Min.
D: Gregg Bishop
S: Nathan Mobley – Jaimie Alexander – Poncho Hodges – Cory Rouse
DVD provided by Allumination FilmWorks
Non-Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 2.0 (Package lists non-present 5.1)
Extras: Director’s commentary – Trailers – Featurettes – Deleted scenes with and without commentary

While waiting for his fiancée to arrive for a romantic evening rendezvous near a waterfall, Samuel North (Mobley) is murdered. He regains awareness in the dark bowels of hell. Before the torments of the pit overtake him, Samuel finds himself in the midst of a breakout. Along with several other damned escapees, Sam arrives back in the world of the living and quickly decides to take the opportunity to find out what happened to the now missing love of his life and, if he can, solve his own murder. Reapers arrive from below to reclaim the loosed souls and are always on the hunt. Sam is running out time…. This is only the tip of the iceberg, there’s so much more to The Other Side, but it’s certain to be a much more rewarding experience when approached with limited knowledge. I was floored by this supernatural/horror/thriller/drama/action film and was impressed to learn that it was completed with a budget of only $15,000. Don’t be fooled by that number either; The Other Side offers a clever story that becomes more intriguing as it plays out and it’s all delivered with precise and competent direction. If I have to punch any holes through this love-fest it would be that the acting is, at times, a little sketchy. That aside, we are still left with one impressively accomplished and downright exciting movie that, in between all the violent action, connects on all levels. That important goal, when reached, keeps viewers emotionally invested and, man, this one definitely gets there. Bishop is truly a talent to watch. The Other Side is highly recommended. – Michael Mackie

1994 – R – 94 Min.
D: Boaz Davidson
S: David Bradley – Ashley Laurence – Anna Levine
Image Entertainment DVD – Double feature disc includes Hard Justice
Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 2.0

What we have here amounts to little more than Boaz Davidson’s interpretation of the movie Basic Instinct. Why do we need a low budget reinvention of Verhoeven’s popular trendsetter? That’s the problem, we don’t. Martial arts action star Bradley is noticeably out of place as the obsessive, borderline alcoholic detective who lusts after the prime suspect in a brutal murder case while inexplicably spurning the advances of partner Laurence. The victim was stabbed repeatedly and then set on fire. All signs point directly to Levine, but Bradley, driven more by lust than any pursuit of truth or justice, is unwilling to accept the obvious and digs deep enough to uncover some unpleasant surprises. Police seem alarmingly disinterested in facts unless it ties into a personal vendetta. Procedure on display is laughable at times and several core plot points are nearly impossible to accept. Laurence is beautiful and convincing and through her skill as an actress single-handedly raises the entertainment value of this movie. Others do not fare as well, particularly Levine who is certainly no substitute for Sharon Stone. An interesting climactic twist may surprise some, but the repetitive and distracting soundtrack that slithers around every other scene will probably annoy most. Action fans lured by Bradley’s name will be sorely disappointed. Such blatant rip-offs can be amusing on their own, but in this instance it’s best to just stick with the original. Should not be confused with 2001 Cynthia Rothrock movie of same name. The on screen title is Blood Run. – Michael Mackie
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