Aliens is one of the easiest templates for a low budget sci-fi thriller. Just gather some sci-fi props, secure a shooting location, and figure out what to do for your monster. In the case of Armed Response, these are, respectively, an RV, a warehouse and, uh, they’re invisible. The invisible monsters bit is a great way to save money. Or you can also just pretend something infects or haunts some of the characters. Now they can be your monsters. To its credit, Armed Response splurges on a couple of bad CG sequences late in the movie involving ghostly arms. Literally arms. Not weapons. But actual arms. That’s your reward for sticking with it.
Armed Response’s unique contribution is a guy who looks like Matthew Fox. “Is that Matthew Fox?” you’re thinking one scene. “Nah,” you realize the next scene. Then a scene later you’re all, like, “Wait, that is Matthew Fox.” Then you’re all, like, “Nah, I guess it’s not.” Then, “Actually, I think it is.” So it goes, back and forth, throughout the 90-minute running time. I don’t want to spoil Armed Response, so I’ll leave you to find out for yourself that it’s not Matthew Fox. Oops. Spoiler.
This is the latest in director John Stockwell’s long low-budget slide from Into the Blue. You’d never know from that movie’s star power, exotic Caribbean locale, and effective script that the director would end up here one day. At least he’s got Anne Heche and Wesley Snipes, taking it all very very seriously. They spend a lot of time looking gravely at monitors before they each get a limply executed fight scene. Snipes seems a bit subdued in an “I was Blade once” way. I almost feel sorry for the poor guy. But Heche has a uncanny ability to have no earthly idea how terrible something is. Consider her role as a mama grizzly of the apocalypse in the Syfy series Aftermath. You can’t fake that kind of obliviousness. If I still played D&D, I’d want to play D&D with Anne Heche.