• Armed Response (Platinum Disc Corporation) DVD Review

    Armed Response (Platinum Disc Corporation) DVD Review
    Released by: Platinum Disc Corporation
    Released on: January 7th, 2003.
    Director: Fred Olen Ray
    Cast: Lee Van Cleef, David Carradine, Michael Berryman, Conan Lee, Mako, Laurene Landon, Ross Hagen, Dick Miller
    Year: 1986
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    Armed Response – Movie Review:

    All through his career, Lee Van Cleef (The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly, Day Of Anger) was cast in some pretty bad movies. He was unjustly typecast and despite his charismatic on screen presence, he rarely got the leading roles, probably because his rat-like features and gravelly voice didn’t give him the hunky quality that casting directors usually seek out for movies. The same thing can be said about Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes). His unusual looks have kept him working, but he’s usually relegated to playing either villains or supporting characters. Likewise, David Carradine will forever be remembered not for the ton of movies that the man has appeared in, but for playing Caine on the Kung Fu TV series.

    So what do you get when the director of Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, Fred Olen Ray assembles these three titans of b-moviedom and casts them along such oft-seen-but-rarely-appreciated bit part actors like Conan Lee (Ninja Warriors, Gymkata), and Mako (the guy who played the wizard in Conan The Barbarian)? Armed Response, that’s what!

    Clay Roth (David Goss) and Cory Thorton (Ross Hagen of Angel’s Wild Women) are a pair of private eyes that take on a job from a Japanese mobster named Akira Tanaka (Mako). He wants them to get a statue that he desperately needs to avoid a gang war with the opposing Chinese mob boss, Hong. The private eyes get the statue for them but Cory decides he just might not give it back to the Japanese. Clay ends up got shot but runs off with the statue while Cory splits with the cash.

    Clay struggles to get to his father’s place, but when his father, Burt (Lee Van Cleef), an ex-police officer, finds him, Clay dies. Burt finds the statue in Clay’s hands and decides that rather than go to the police; he’s going to get his Vietnam vet son Jim (David Carradine) to help him find out what happened on their own.

    Tanaka tracks the statue down and decides to take down the Roth family with the help of his mammoth bodyguard, F.C. (Michael Berryman), who hands out a fortune cookie to you just before he kills you. So it’s up to Clay and Jim to take the law into their own hands, save the family, and clean up the streets by whatever means necessary.

    Made shortly before his death, Armed Response is not Lee Van Cleef’s shining moment. It isn’t Carradine’s either. In fact, it’s nobody’s shining moment at all. It’s goofy as can be with really bad ‘tough guy’ dialogue, poorly choreographed fight scenes, ridiculous costumes and truly awful music. But it does have some great on screen chemistry and an all-star b-action hero line up that is truly too good to pass up. You wanna see David Carradine relive the horrors of the Vietnam war through some flashbacks? Check. You wanna see Lee Van Cleef beat the crap out of a biker using some pretty slow moving karate skills? It’s here. What about Michael Berryman running around in a black combat suit with a red belt that looks like something Wonder Woman would be embarrassed to have in her wardrobe? That’s here too. Throw in some cliché’ Asian villains, a bit of gratuitous nudity and some senseless violence and you’ve got yourself a movie that entertains for all the wrong reasons – but does a very good job of it. Not enough? Laurene Landon and Dick Miller show up here too!

    You might call Armed Response a guilty pleasure, but I call Armed Response fucking great.

    Armed Response – DVD Review:

    Obviously culled from a VHS source, the fullframe presentation is murky and a little washed out. Compression artifacts plague some of the darker scenes and there is video noise present in a few spots. It’s watchable, but not much more than that.

    The Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack is sufficient. It’s not going to give your system any kind of work out, but dialogue is clean and clear and isn’t overshadowed by the sound effects or cheesy background score.

    Hidden underneath what has got to be one of the ugliest DVD menus I’ve ever seen is a beat up looking trailer and some brief text bios - but that's it as far as extra features go.

    Armed Response– The Final Word:

    Armed Response is pretty corny, but there are just enough golden moments in the film to give it a minor recommendation to those who appreciate bad action movies and/or die hard Van Cleef fans – because it’s fucking awesome.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      Yes. this movie is goofy as hell but it's also wildly entertaining! It's the stuff dreams are made of, haha. Thanks for the review.
    1. Matt H.'s Avatar
      Matt H. -
      My problem with this flick is there's hardly any Laurene Landon. I mean, who hires Landon and only uses her for a cameo? Unforgivable.