Just Look Away

Posted on January 6, 2011

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Another Public Service Announcement, where I watch bad movies so you don’t have to.

Armed Response

This 1986 revenge “thriller” stars David Carridine, Lee Van Cleef, Mako, and a host of character actors who’ve gone on to have long careers – including Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, in a role similar to the one Al Leong played in Lethal Weapon. It has no Rotten Tomatoes ranking, and only 12% of the respondents want to see it.

Why bother?

Come on! It stars TV’s Kwai Chang Caine (and Bill, from Kill Bill), Angel Eyes from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and the wizard from Conan the Barbarian! Do you need more? Okay, it also features everyone’s favorite mutant biker, the fabulous Michael Berryman!

I watched it.

Lee Van Cleef plays a veteran who is also a retired police officer in Generic City, California. All three of his sons are Viet Nam veterans. One, David Carridine, owns a bar. Another is a private eye. He and his partner get hired by the Yakuza, but the partner decides to pull a double-cross. Lee Van Cleef’s private-eye son lives just long enough to deliver a stolen statue to the family. The Yakuza, headed by Mako, pursue the statue. Lee and his surviving son try to figure out what the Hell is going on while defending their family.

The verdict

Armed Response is a movie that desperately wants to be good, but can’t quite make it. David Carridine and Lee Van Cleef are old hands at this stuff, but they’re not phoning it in. They’re bringing their A-games to a movie that’s not worthy. I’m no expert on organized crime, but from what I do know, the likelihood of the Triads and the Yakuza getting in bed together is slim to none. Also, from what I’ve read, the Yakuza is one of the most xenophobic organizations in the world. The chances of them hiring as many white guys as are in this movie are equally small. The producers clearly spent all their budget on their stars, and it shows in the half-hearted action sequences, weak effects, and generally poor supporting cast.

It’s all foreplay, and no happy ending.

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Posted in: Movies