On the day that I watched an excellent Polish documentary feature film from director Maciej Adamek titled Dwa Swiata (Two Worlds), I also had to endure a vastly lesser movie called Armed Response. The first movie I highly recommend you check out, the second movie, not so much.
Armed Response is able to lure people in with an, admittedly, solid cast, starring Wesley Snipes, Anne Hache, Dave Annable and Colby Lopez aka WWE Superstar Seth Rollins. A talented bunch, with Snipes and Hache being quite accomplished actors. What wasn’t accomplished though was any sort of entertainment from watching this pile of trash of a movie. Director John Stockwell and writer Matt Savelloni fail miserably in attempting to provide any sort of logical storyline. What did these guys do to pitch the producers on this? I’d be dying to be a fly on the wall in that room.
The film follows a team of highly trained operatives who 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. Not that any of this is at all apparent or filmed with any sort of clarity. These operatives are anything but highly trained. The only one experiencing strange and horrific phenomena was me watching this.
It’s hard to fault the actors for this, they try their best. Annable carries the weight and does his best to make this movie sound interesting and smart. Snipes plays typical Snipes, cool and calm. Hache is miscast, but she’s not to blame. Lopez doesn’t have much dialogue, but he does solid work with what he has. You wouldn’t think of him as a wrestler starring in his first film by the way he performs on-screen.
Some things you will wonder about and never get an answer as to why? For example, why did the filmmakers get a green light on this? Did anyone read the script that Savelloni wrote prior to beginning production? To his credit, Stockwell is a fairly accomplished director having directed solid films such as Turistas, Blue Crush, Into the Blue and the surprisingly good Kickboxer: Vengeance. As far as Savelloni goes, well, this was the first movie he’s written and boy does it show.
There is very little that stands out about this Armed Response. I constantly found myself peeking over at SportsCenter, going through my email, looking at Facebook, and most importantly, wishing I still didn’t have 50 minutes left in this film. The film looses its audience early on and never truly recovers from the damage it has already done. Suffering from a serious case of identity crisis, the films greatest issue (among many) was that it didn’t understand what kind of film it wanted to be, from horror, to science fiction to comedy, never sticking the landing for any of them. Comedy is probably the only thing that comes through, especially when you see the characters become translucent and have things zipping through them as if they are ghosts. There is no explanation for this either. To be fair the film does accomplish one thing, pure confusion.
Armed Response doesn’t deserve a response for how bad it is, but you should know before you choose to see it. Sure, Rollins will be a reason many WWE fans will want to check it out, Snipes has his fan base also, but the script is too poor to justify sitting through. Wasted talent, a blemish on Stockwell’s resume and nothing promising for the viewer.