Hunt for rogue AI quickly turns silly

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - — Michael Recht­shaf­fen

An aban­doned high-tech pri­son sets the stage — as well as the lim­ited shoot­ing bud­get — for “Armed Re­sponse,” a far-fetched supernatural re­venge tech­nothriller star­ring Wes­ley Snipes, Dave Annable and Anne Heche and pro­duced by KISS founder Gene Sim­mons and WWE Stu­dios.

If those cred­its sound like a wacky hodge­podge, here’s the plot: A team of spe­cial forces ops who fought in Afghanistan re­con­venes in a se­cluded U.S. mil­i­tary com­pound called the Tem­ple, which was in­tended as a place to in­ter­ro­gate high­level pris­on­ers un­til its mal­func­tion­ing AI took on a deadly life of its own.

Al­though there is some en­ter­tain­ment value in see­ing Snipes, Annable (who also played a war vet on the TV se­ries “Brothers and Sis­ters”), Heche and WWE star Seth Rollins in full tac­ti­cal gear hunt­ing for the in­vis­i­ble per­pe­tra­tor be­hind a vi­cious blood­bath that has erad­i­cated a squad of their pre­de­ces­sors, that value proves fleet­ing.

Un­able to em­ploy an ef­fec­tive choke­hold on the mount­ing ten­sion, ac­tor-di­rec­tor John Stock­well, whose more sat­is­fy­ing cred­its in­clude 2001’s “Crazy/ Beau­ti­ful” and the 2000 TV movie “Cheaters,” fails to pre­vent Matt Savel­loni’s in­creas­ingly ridicu­lous script from dron­ing on life­lessly.

By the time one of the gun-tot­ing mem­bers of Team Snipes growls “Let’s fin­ish this!” view­ers would be hard-pressed to dis­agree. “Armed Re­sponse.” Rat­ing: R for strong vi­o­lence, some grisly images and lan­guage. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 33 min­utes. Play­ing: Laemmle NoHo, North Hol­ly­wood. Also on VOD.

El­iza Morse Sa­ban Films / Lionsgate

DAVE ANNABLE, left, and Wes­ley Snipes are part of a spe­cial forces team trail­ing an in­vis­i­ble killer.

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