Overrun is an action-comedy that gets it. It gets it. The action is fast, well-choreographed and sufficiently brutal. The comedy is great without breaking the tension of the story, utilizing a supporting cast of quirky friends and goofy goons to help the hero on his mission. Lower-budget fare tends to live or die on one good idea executed well; Overrun is a dozen cool ideas played to perfection. Double-crosses, triple-crosses, multiple crime bosses, corrupt cops, earnest criminals, cool mercenaries and a junkyard filled with explosives wired to a big red button labeled “Boom Time” in bubblegum pink font. To top it all off, the fights kill.
Marcus (Omid Zader) is a former military extraction specialist making his way in the civilian world. His sister, Reyna (Chelsey Goldsmith), is an informant for Detective Finning (Johnny Messner). Crime boss Ray Barren (Robert Miano) needs Marcus for a job, so he kidnaps Rayna as collateral with the promise of clearing both their names after the job is completed. Of course, a crime boss’s word is only as good as what he needs from you, and soon Marcus finds himself in the crosshairs of another crime boss, Arkadi Dubkova (Bruce Dern), with a $2 million bounty on his head.
Along the way, Marcus comes into contact with a police conspiracy involving multiple detectives with their own plans while relying on assistance from his own colorful tech guy and an old buddy, Doc (Nicholas Turturro), who owns the aforementioned junkyard. He battles cool assassins and eventually battles his way by hand through a building filled with Ray’s hand-picked bodyguards. That final fight sequence features one of the more satisfying three-man hot-potato knife fights I’ve watched this year. It’s all great fun and great work by everyone involved — impressive, impressive action filmmaking
Zader brings a steely goodness to Marcus and moves with grace and weight. His other credits include stuntwork in film and television, including on John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, The Mandalorian and the forthcoming The Matrix Resurrections. Helpful, too, is the fact that director Josh Tessier also comes from a similar background in stunts. The two have their action expertise on full display. The fights here aren’t quick-cut Bourne stuff where flurries of fists mask a lack of choreography and impact. Knives cut, punches land, characters die. Those unfortunate enough to take a few bullets explode in a fireworks display of blood-squib glory.
It’s not all shallow action. Marcus, as a character, displays a sense of Old West morality. He wants his sister back and, damnit, some people may have to die if they get in his way. But he’s not looking to kill, and those who help him will be protected and rewarded when the time comes. He’s a Good Guy in a Bad World, which is too bad for the criminals who pissed him off.
There’s a lot of silliness in Overrun, and it’s all additive. Marcus’s tech assistant wears a My Little Pony pajama suit while advising him. One of the detectives can’t stop eating. Two of the assassins seem straight out of the video game Borderlands (which is high praise). Nothing here lacks a creative touch. Even the bullet-sponge goons whom Marcus cuts through in the climax all have something unique or memorable about them.
Overrun is full of character, comedy and creative energy. Nothing in the film feels constrained by budget. It’s true anything-goes independent filmmaking and one hell of an action movie.