Lionsgate Films has released the 2017 action thriller Armed Response starring Wesley Snipes on Blu-ray and Digital HD.
Here at the Nerd Mentality offices there was quite a heated battle over who would get to review this gem of a film. None of us had heard of it before, probably because it’s a direct to video film. It’s produced by Saban Films and WWE Studios (and others). Metacritic gives it a 13, Rotten Tomatoes a 0% and IMDB users have rated it 3.7/10.
So why did I want to see it? First it’s marketed as a horror film and rated R (for strong violence, some grisly images and language). Second I have a weird love of bad movies (mostly action or horror) from the 80’s and 90’s and I was hoping this might be one like that. So I took the plunge and watched it. All 94 minutes of it. Yes even the WTF ending and Matrix style ending credit sequence.
Armed Response is directed by John Stockwell (Blue Crush, Cat Run, Kickboxer: Vengeance) and stars Wesley Snipes, Anne Heche, Colby Lopez (aka Wrestling’s Seth Rollins) and a Gene Simmons cameo.
The plot is centered around a specialized team that works in a military complex called the Temple. The team begins to experience strange occurrences and they are slowly picked off one by one. When the Temple goes offline a new team is sent to investigate to see what the problem is. This second team becomes trapped inside the Temple by what appears to be a malfunction. Who or what is behind this (and the previous murders)? Will any of the plot make sense? Is the shitty CG effects going to make you cringe or laugh? You’ll just have to watch to find out for sure (or not).
The film really seems like a mixture of ideas that would feel right at home in a 90’s campy action film or a short TV episode. So many story fragments from this movie have been done before, so it’s not really original, but it has just enough elements of cheese that it kept me interested. The writing structure is a bit of a disaster and most of the plot revelations make absolutely no sense at all. The actors mostly perform like they were just in it for the money with Snipes himself being absurdly robotic and wooden. Armed Response is right at the fringe of being a “so bad it’s good” film. I think the majority of viewers will just see this as a mostly boring low budget action film and probably will turn it off before the amazingly ludicrous ending scenes.
The picture quality of the film looks like you would expect from a direct to video digitally filmed movie to look like. There are budget constraints that are easily noticeable and lighting issues. CG effects are pretty lame as well but none of that is the fault of the transfer. It really looks quite a bit like a modern average made-for-TV movie. Audio is presented as DTS-HD Master 5.1 with some nice cheesy but energized action sound effects. Gun play especially reminded me of PM Entertainment quality work. Dialogue is crisp and clear. English and Spanish subtitles are included.
Inside the Minds of Armed Response – A 15 minute featurette with interviews of the behind the scenes of the film.
Armed Response Final Thoughts:
The movie is silly, the characterizations are utterly pointless and the story is all over the place. I can’t imagine anyone paying $22 retail for this. I do think it deserves a spot among my collection of bad but entertaining films but it’s slated more at the lower end of what I find acceptable. It’s almost necessary to be viewing along with a friend or two for commentary and some form of legal mind numbing substances. At best I would only halfheartedly suggest a rental, most viewers should simply pass on this one.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.