Title: Armed Response
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Anne Heche, Kyle Clements, Dave Annable, Colby Lopez
Release: October 2017
Director: John Stockwell
A group of tough-as-nails special ops military types find themselves trapped inside an isolated military compound - The Temple - after its artificial intelligence is suddenly shut down. What comes next is strange, unbelievable and horrific as the AI system picks off the team one by one in increasingly terrifying and unexpected ways.
Wesley Snipes is the main star and despite being off the big screen for some time and having a string of less than stellar appearances since returning to acting, he still has genuine presence on screen. Who doesn’t love Wesley Snipes? He’s the star of the amazing Blade franchise and plenty of other hit films like White Men Can’t Jump and Demolition Man. No matter what the film is, Wesley Snipes is worth watching.
That said you might need a few beers before watching Armed Response because the plot is sketchy and the direction and pace is sluggish. The acting, at least, is decent. There are some interesting ideas and possibilities but I’m not sure that they were explored in the right way. Yes AI is part of our lives now and yes we are a bit scared of it blowing us all up like in Terminator 2, but are we scared of AI taking over an abandoned prison and hunting down criminals or military types? No not really. The storyline in actual fact is nonsensical, The Temple is some sort of AI lie detector / mind reading machine / complex that seems so far removed from reality that it might as well be in space or in the distant future. It’s mad.
So what we get is a villain that is some sort of sentient computer program that can kill its victims by electrocution and other means but also has sort sort of spectral force that stalks the complex. It’s a bit out-there to say the least. But you can’t fault a film for trying to push the boundaries or do something different and new. There is genuine effort on the part of the writer in this respect. Unfortunately Armed Response is a rather flat, stalk and slash movie where all cast are picked off one by one - which in itself is nothing new.
Snipes glowers, grunts and barks orders to his team as only Snipes can and shows off his martial arts skills as only Snipes can, but Anne Heche and the rest of the cast can’t seem to muster up much interest in their characters - all ending up as fairly one dimensional and flat.
Snipes needs better material than this to get back to his best and perhaps his real comeback after his time in prison for tax problems will come with Blade 4? Well we can but hope that it might one day happen…