Plot: Gabriel (Dave Annable) was the creative force behind the Temple, a bleeding edge black ops compound, used for interrogation purposes. This facility was a huge leap forward in information acquisition, as it made most of the old school interrogation methods obsolete. After all, torture would lead to unreliable answers and some suspects simply would never reveal the desired information, so the usable data from such tactics was minimal at best. But Gabriel’s Temple blended a powerful AI into the process, one which could read every aspect of a suspect, including the mind. But when the Temple goes offline and the staff doesn’t respond, Gabriel is tracked down by his former boss Isaac (Wesley Snipes), who recruits him to visit the Temple and get to the bottom of the situation. But if something has gone wrong at the Temple, can even a squad of black ops agents put things back on track?
Entertainment Value: Armed Response is marketed as an action movie, but in truth, it is more of a dark, slow burn thriller. The movie injects some small scale action at times, but it focuses more on tension and atmosphere than explosions. There is also a sci/fi or paranormal vibe at times, but the main emphasis is on the breakdown of the black ops squad that infiltrates the Temple. In this eerie, almost mystical locale, paranoia runs rampant, tensions mount, and violence is a constant threat, so the suspense is solid, even if the narrative is on the weak side. More to the point I suppose, the narrative is not that original and we have seen this premise before and Armed Response does little to stand out from the crowd. I did appreciate the final act, which took off the gloves and started going for broke, as it has some memorable moments and some head scratching ones as well. I kind of wish the entire movie had been like that final act, as it was the best part and really changed my view of the picture. The cast is fine, with Wesley Snipes, Anne Heche, and WWE superstar Seth Rollins as the standouts, though Snipes isn’t given a lot to do here. In the end, Armed Response is a middle of the road, slightly odd thriller with some memorable moments. I do wish it was livelier and more creative, but it still worth a rental for genre fans.
No nakedness. This movie doesn’t spend time on romances or sexual hijinks, so the lack of sleaze is no surprise. The movie does pack in some bloodshed, but it is mostly CGI and not that effective. Even so, we do get a trippy scene of some kind of wall demons that rip off a guy’s arms, gun battle violence, and brawls, so there’s some crimson splashed around, just not a lot. The action scenes here are infrequent, but the final act raises the stakes and delivers some fun fights. I mean, I never expected to see Anne Heche and Seth Rollins in an extended brawl, but that happens here. I loved that unexpected clash and I think it adds a lot to the movie. So not wall to wall action, but a couple of nice, fun to watch sequences. I found the dialogue to be fine, if a little bland, though Rollins has some humorous, smart ass lines. On the craziness side, we have the weird vibes, Heche vs. Rollins, a point blank execution of a child, and the final act has some other oddball moments as well.
Overall Insanity: 3/10