There is a real problem in Hollywood that is films that are created by committees, where instead of an artistic vision they ape off what is popular without understanding why. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some new directors don’t have a clear vision so they substitute things from other films they enjoy to fill in the gaps. While they both have their issues, you often find that the latter approach provides the passion for the project that can yield success. Overrun is a crazy amalgamation of every other action comedy around but somehow finds its own voice and charming moments.
Ray (Robert Miano) has an offer for Marcus (Omid Zader), one last job, then he and his sister are out for good. He’s heard this offer before, but Ray isn’t one to let up, and what’s wrong with one more suicide mission? This one has been rigged, however, and Marcus finds the dead son of the Russian mafia in his trunk. What started as a simple pick-up mission has spiraled completely out of control, and now Marcus is pulling every favor he has to keep himself out of the hand of the Russian Mafia, the police, and the deadly bounty hunters after his head.
In that short synopsis, you may have noticed quite a few references to other pieces of action media. From characterizations to locations, to the story elements, Overrun has gathered a collection of tropes and moments specially selected for this personal project. While they do enough to mix it up and add their own flavor to not be seen as a strict rip-off, it can be distracting when you have seen these situations and characters in a dozen other films. From the main character being framed to the MacGuffin suitcase, you have seen it all before.
What is surprising about Overrun though is that the small changes the film makes to the situations and characters make them interesting and stand out from all the source material. Where it would usually be a horrible idea to introduce so many characters into a first-time feature, it works because they are all caricatures of real characters. Hard-boiled detective trying to crack the case open, the goofy inept cop who loves food, eccentric hacker friend that has super level technology, is only a shortlist of trope characters that only work because they are comically stereotypical. Combine these all with some rather impressive stunts and a funny script makes this a surprisingly enjoyable film.
When people complain about mindless movies doing great at the box office as a common response is “popular things are popular for a reason” and that is very obvious with Overrun. While it isn’t breaking any new ground or bringing anything to the table, it does all the things it is referencing well. While I usually take notes when I watch screeners, I found I stopped taking notes after the first 30 minutes because the story was that predictable but I never found myself bored and I believe that alone is notable.
7 out of 10