Bullet Points: Armed Response
The title of a movie is very important. Maybe not as much for directors like Christopher Nolan who can just name his movie “Inception”, a word which means absolutely nothing to 99.999% of humanity, but for all of those other directors who still need to worry whether their movie will make a profit going directly to Netflix on a Tuesday morning it is of utmost importance. When I see that a movie has the word ninja in the title there is a 80% chance I will watch it. If I see that there is another new Steven Seagal movie hitting the streaming services and it has something to do with the words “kill” or “gun” then I usually hold off on it. The point I’m trying to make is that if you name your movie “Armed Response” and the cover has Wesley Snipes holding an assault rifle I fully expect the movie to not bore the living shit out of me. Don’t they teach this stuff in movie school??
Synopsis: A team of highly trained operatives find themselves trapped inside an isolated military compound after its AI is suddenly shut down. The crew begins to experience strange and horrific phenomena as they attempt to uncover what killed the previous team.
- A Cast of Random’s: The thing that most drew me to this film was the fact that it starred Wesley Snipes. I had also seen it being promoted on WWE.com so it only took a moment of searching to find out that it also starred WWE Superstar Seth Rollins (Colby Lopez) as well. What surprised me the most, though, was that another member of the “highly trained operatives” team was played by none other than Anne Heche. Not only had I forgotten that she had existed but I also never expected her to appear in an action movie starring Wesley Snipes and a former WWE Champion. Assuming, of course, that Armed Response is an action movie…
- Get it off My Chest: It wasn’t the cast that made me not enjoy Armed Response. It wasn’t the story, the special effects, or even the writing (which I thought was terrible). It was the fact that this movie is completely full of shit. The poster has no reason for looking the way it does. No one really picks up a weapon and uses it with intent to kill until the very last scenes of the movie. And that tagline! “NO RETREAT NO MERCY” makes absolutely no damned sense when one very specific character is given mercy in the final minutes of the film. I don’t know if the studio had decided to make an action movie, realized that they instead had a thriller starring an action guy in the lead, and then decided to go ahead and promote it as an action movie but that is sure what it felt like to me. Don’t be fooled by any of that poster folks.
- The Temple: The movie essentially tells the story of a group of soldiers who turn up dead in a high-tech interrogation facility built by some grieving genius dude. A new group of soldiers gets the genius and goes into the facility trying to figure out what happened to their buddies. The place has all sorts of interesting ways of finding out if people are lying using techniques that I won’t attempt to get into now. Let’s just say it’s one big polygraph building that can learn anything it wants about you. Is it any surprise when a place like this malfunctions and starts doing its own thing?
- Aliens, this is not: The way that the team enters the facility really made me want to watch Aliens again. As I’ve said many times before, no other movie about a group of soldiers does a better job in so little an amount of time at “putting the characters over”. That is a wrestling term for making someone care about a character. James Cameron was a master at doing this without spending too much time going over backstories or motivations but director John Stockwell, apparently, did not take that class. The team in Armed Response barely even get names. Not that they matter. I only remembered any of them because one of them was a professional wrestler and the other was Anne Heche. Neither of them had any memorable lines and they were both given next to nothing to do. They deserved better.
- How do you Fight a Building: There isn’t much hope of defeating an enemy that isn’t actually living. I guess they could have lit the place on fire but the sprinklers might have kicked on and doused it before it spread. They could have also just busted open a window and climbed out. That is if they could get out of the doors that led to the windowed rooms. They end up setting up a pile of explosives, which take way too long to prepare. Then when they finally do go off they destroy a portion of the facility that can best be measured in Jolly Ranchers. It seriously couldn’t have even blown up one of the tiny little chair/desk combos we used in elementary school. SAD!!
- Let’s Leave on a Positive Note: I didn’t enjoy Armed Response for reasons that I’ve already discussed. Another good reason is that I’ve recently reviewed two movies that I felt did something very similar but without wasting actors like Wesley Snipes and by not having 240lb men getting beaten up by Anne Heche. Infini and Crawlspace were both movies that dealt with similar stories to Armed Response and they both did so with much greater success in my opinion. I still believe that Snipes has more good roles left in him and Anne Heche didn’t ruin the movie with her performance but neither of them had much to do in the movie and it only fed my anger by seeing two actors on screen with very little going on. This was also the first film for WWE’s Seth Rollins. He had a few scenes in the film but nothing remarkable. The writing for his character made him seem like a real dick and I was just waiting for the moment when he would die from his first second on screen.
The Verdict: You can tell by the pictures that I used that there is very little in the way of action in Armed Response. It’s not a good sign when you have to specifically search for a scene where the actors shoot a gun. The most action packed part of Wesley Snipes’ performance was probably when he posed for the poster. Not only is he held back from doing any cool action shit but he also gets his ass kicked by a glorified IT guy! Seth Rollins should wrestle The Miz for his rights to the next Marine movie because he needs to stay as far away from crap like this as possible. Skip this and watch the two aforementioned (and linked!) movies above.