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Raph and Max only kill bad guys, and only after their boss Sam, a high-powered attorney, has cashed a nice paycheck for getting her sleazy clients off the hook. When Sam sends our heroes on a routine hit, they find themselves caught up in a conspiracy they never imagined. But whatever trouble they've gotten themselves into is nothing compared to the wrath of Raph's wife if he doesn't make it home in time for his son's birthday party. Being a good hit man is tough; being a good dad is killer!
For more about Overtime and the Overtime Blu-ray release, see Overtime Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on January 1, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Al Snow, John Wells
» See full cast & crew
Overtime Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, January 1, 2013
Well, folks, it's officially 2013, which means we've all outlived the much ballyhooed Mayan Apocalypse by more than a week now. Some of us may have even weathered the end of the western calendar (or at least its 2012 version) without a serious hangover. But if news reports of the on again, off again Fiscal Cliff aren't enough to ignite your worst fears about the future (or lack thereof) of humanity, consider this: VCI Entertainment, the unassuming niche label located in the southern part of America's heartland in Oklahoma, a label which has previously specialized in family fare and Dove Award winning releases, is bringing out Overtime, a sporadically entertaining zombie movie featuring two well meaning if dunderheaded hitmen who drop the F-bomb with rather unabated alacrity. Mix in some pretty gruesome special effects and a more than passing Tarantino vibe to the entire enterprise, and this is certainly one of the most peculiar pairings of product to established brand that I personally can recall. Two or three states to the east of Oklahoma is Kentucky, home to most of the principal cast and crew of Overtime, pet project of co- writers, co-producers and co-directors Brian Cunningham and Matt Niehoff. (The two also contributed to a host of other functions on the film, including everything from special effects to editing to cinematography to, one assumes, craft services.) The only putative "name" in the cast is Al Snow, whom some will remember as a so-called "WWE Superstar". The rest of the cast (including the wonderfully named Avri Apocalypse, just in case you thought this review's end of the world framing device didn't make any sense) are evidently longtime friends and/or acquaintances of Cunningham and Niehoff, so some cynics might accuse Overtime of being little more than a vanity project, or at best an amped up learning experience for two young filmmakers. But against considerable odds, there's actually quite a bit to like about Overtime, at least if you're not expecting it to be a Dove Award winning holier than thou typical VCI Entertainment release.
Overtime opens with a faux news report featuring an unctuous reporter trying to interview an evident murderer who has just been gotten off by his attractive female attorney. We then segue to two Pulp Fiction- esque characters, Raf (Al Snow) and Max (John Wells), who show up at the murderer's home pretending to be FBI agents. Things don't exactly go swimmingly, but Raf and Max end up killing the murderer and all of his pectorally enhanced henchmen. Raf ends up taking a bullet in the arm in the process. The film then abruptly changes direction yet again when Raf and Max drop by Raf's home, where his wife Tammy (Cristina Mullins) is cooking breakfast and Raf's son is ensconced in playing videogames. Tammy takes Raf to task for bleeding on an otherwise pristine white dress shirt, and just for good measure reminds Raf that today is their son's birthday and that Raf was supposed to have made all the arrangements, including hiring a clown, buying a present and picking up a cake.
As if things weren't tonally diverse enough, we soon find out that Max and Raf are actually hired hitmen who work for the attorney we saw in the opening "news report". It turns out she gets these despicable lowlifes off, collects her huge fees, and then has Max and Raf dispatch them to prevent any future crimes from being committed. However, she's just found out that the murderer Max and Raf just killed had an accomplice, a guy named Greg Chambers (James Tackett) who was evidently helping the dead guy cut drugs with some very dangerous new chemical. She tells Max and Raf that they need to track down Chambers and get rid of him stat. That finally sets the film off on its central act of action, where yet another couple of twists and turns show up.
Before we can get to that central section, however, Raf attempts to buy his son the latest gaming console, the so-called Y-Box 720. Niehoff and Cunningham go completely gonzo in this brief segment, starting it out with a supposed advertisement for the product that features a number of lunatic satirical elements, an advertisement that is then revealed to be one of those eternal loops that plays in big box stores in the Home Electronics Department. It's probably one too many detours in a film already fraught with tangents (Niehoff and Cunningham only up this particular ante by including a longer Y-Box riff after the closing credits). In perhaps one indication of the lo-fi charms of this film, listen to how Snow calls the gum chewing girlfriend of the store clerk "Steph", when he really shouldn't know her name, and when that is the name of another female character he's about to meet in the film.
As if all of that didn't bob and weave enough, we now get to the actual main thrust of Overtime, when Raf and Max track down Chambers only to find out he's been experimenting with alien bodily fluids and has unwittingly helped to create a horde of zombies which have overtaken the weird silo like facility where he's holed up with a number of other survivors. The film then becomes a more or less standard "shoot the head and you kill the beast" battle extravaganza, albeit with Raf and Max also trying to keep a cake they find in the lab in decent condition along the way.
As should probably be clear by this long and winding road, which frankly doesn't even cover all of the madness of Overtime (have I neglected to mention the alcoholic homeless guy crashed in the back of Raf's Mustang whom he's going to try to pass off as a clown at his kid's birthday party?), Overtime isn't exactly a model of decorum or restraint. But it's actually surprisingly engaging, most of which comes from Snow and Wells' deadpan delivery as more and more mayhem erupts around them. The two have an enjoyable camaraderie, and while Snow is the ostensible "star", my money is on Wells actually being able to matriculate to Hollywood for some "real" film work. He's charismatic, obviously has the physicality of an action star, and also has a nice self-deprecating quality which could translate well into higher budgeted fare.
Cunningham and Niehoff are also deserving of kudos for elevating the film at least slightly above the typical first timer indie efforts. Things are well staged, intelligently framed and decently edited. Some of the music is annoyingly overdone, but otherwise this is an unexpectedly solid offering in a zombie apocalypse genre that, like cockroaches, seems fated to endure forever. The film has a lot of potentially objectionable language, as well as quite a bit of human and alien gore, so forewarned is forearmed.
Overtime Blu-ray, Video Quality
Overtime is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of VCI Entertainment with an MPEG-2 encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. Perhaps surprisingly given this older video codec, Overtime looks rather good most of the time, part of which is probably due to having been digitally shot in native HD. The opening sequences as well as the brief closing sequence probably pop the best, since they're adequately lit and some of the action takes place outside. Unfortunately the bulk of this film is in the at times very dark interior confines of the zombie lair, and there this transfer falters at least some of the time with inadequate shadow detail, spotty contrast and less than stellar fine object detail. Some of the film has been intentionally tweaked (the Y-Box commercial has hyperbolically pushed contrast to the point where everything glows), but generally speaking, colors are accurate looking and decently saturated.
Overtime Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Overtime has uncompressed LPCM tracks available in both 5.1 and 2.0. The audio mix here is aggressive and quite effective, with the only downside the thumping, bass heavy source cues that often overpower certain scenes. Otherwise, though, this is great sounding audio, with really nicely done discrete channelization, even within the sometimes claustrophobic confines of the silo cum lab where Raf and Max battle the zombies. Dialogue is crisply and cleanly presented, and the mix (save for the problematic music elements) is well prioritized. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is extremely wide.
Overtime Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Overtime Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I frankly wasn't expecting much from Overtime, so perhaps at least part of the equation for being able to enjoy this film is having a low set bar to begin with. But to be fair, the film is really rather decently constructed and the two leads are a lot of fun to watch. Niehoff and Cunningham probably try a little too hard to do too much, and the Y-Box parodies are especially misguided (though I admit I laughed at the post-credits one). The film is a crazy quilt of ideas and genres, mashed together like two wrestlers in a crowded ring. Hey, Snow's "former" life in the WWE had to play into this thing somehow. This Blu-ray offers generally good video and some very good audio, and the supplements are decent as well. In another sign of the apocalypse, Overtime comes (at least for zombie fans and with the caveats above noted) Recommended.
Overtime Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Overtime Blu-ray - October 15, 2012
VCI Home Entertainment will release a combo pack edition of directors Brian Cunningham and Matt Niehoff's horror comedy Overtime (2011), starring Al Snow, John Wells, Erica Goldsmith, Sebrina Siegel, Avri Apocalypse and Rita Hight with Caleb Butcher. Street date ...
Overtime Blu-ray Screenshots
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