Stephen Whitty

Columnist, critic for national and international outlets. Author, lecturer, host.

Sep 13, 2021
1 min read

Overrun is an action movie that gets one thing very right.

It takes its filmmaking seriously. It doesn’t take itself seriously.

Perhaps that’s because a lot of the people making it – behind and in front of the camera – are veteran stunt players. They still remember being kids at recess, and showing off their kung-fu movies and James Bond skills.

It was fun then. And it should still be fun now, even if it’s also a job.

Overrun stars Omid Zader as an ex-special ops agent whose sister has been kidnapped. He’s determined to find her – but first he has to deal with the Italian mob, the Russian mob, and a squad of freelance assassins. Oh, and locate a mysterious suitcase.

If it sounds like an ‘80s Schwarzenegger movie crossed with a comic book, that’s OK. That’s the idea. And it makes for an entertaining B-movie.

Zader, a busy stuntman, isn’t the most charismatic lead (he’s like a pale imitation of Dwayne Johnson, back when he was still just the Rock). And his co-star, Johnny Messner, is just as stiff as the square-jawed detective. Stolid and unsmiling, they deliver lines like they’re laying bricks.

But the rest of the cast is stuffed with interestingly eccentric characters, and great supporting actors. Robert Miano is terrific as a silkily smooth mobster. Bruce Dern is so good as an Eastern European gangster you don’t even wonder why his son has a thick Slavic acccent and he still sounds like Bruce Dern.

Jack Griffo and Nick Turturro are both lively and ingratiating in the sort of geek-sidekick roles that are often just annoying. And William Katt turns in a lovely, understated performance as a sad and shabby cop. (Although, if you haven’t seen Katt since “The Greatest American Hero,” be warned – it’s been a long time since “The Greatest American Hero.”)

Director Josh Tessier starts things off cockily enough, with a complicated shot just to prove hey, he saw “Goodfellas” too, but after that he keeps things moving economically. Only in the last half-hour, as the double-crosses pile up, and some comic-relief killers show up, does the film start to sag.

But before things start to get too silly, or confusing, things wrap themselves up and it’s time for the end credits. And the fact that they all look like like cartoons is your last, and biggest hint, as to what you’ve been happily watching all along.

4 stars (out of 5)

Overrun