Armed (2018) Poster

(I) (2018)

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What could go wrong? Almost everything
TheLittleSongbird22 November 2018
'Armed' did have potential to work. Absolutely loved the concept and any film that attempts to take on important, relevant but under-explored subjects is worthy of credit, even if it didn't succeed it would have gotten some applause for trying. Did feel apprehensive at the same time, having heard bad things and have found films often that have low ratings and not so good reviews to be that bad despite wanting to like it.

Watching it, 'Armed' was not a good film to me, didn't explore its subject anywhere near enough and the potential was not lived up. Am not going to accuse 'Armed' for not trying, that couldn't be further from the truth. It did. If anything, it was a film that tried hard but to the viewer it comes over as trying too hard, with a sense of having a good deal of ambition but biting off more than it could chew. Really admired what it tried to do but it just didn't work. My review summary actually is a little too harsh, but it only summed up my overall feelings after watching the film.

There are a few good things. Generally didn't find the production values too cheap, it did have style and was at least cohesive. Mario Van Peebles' performance is committed, he was definitely not going through the motions and he doesn't try to overdo it. Likewise with William Fichtner.

Do agree that the barber shop scene stood out when it came to the writing, it was clever and thought-provoking and makes one wonder whether someone else wrote that scene.

Because the rest of the script came over as under-cooked and muddled, at times self-indulgent too. Other than Peebles and Fichtner, the rest of the actors don't work so well and seem stifled, excepting Ryan Guzman for the reason of being jarringly hammy. The characters are rather sketchy in development and show no traits that allows one to get behind them, some felt shoe-horned in as well and add little. The character interaction never comes over as natural, with some interactions being borderline-creepy and others being over-the-top.

Have said already that the production values aren't too cheap, though will admit that some of the more hallucinatory moments were shot in a way that induced some nausea and over-reliant on symbolism that perplexes rather than intrigues. The recurring depictions of PTSD are handled very broadly yet also with little depth, making it not so easy to emotionally connect. That is all lost too under the confused and over-biased messaging and heavy-handed and again biased (in a less than tasteful way) political elements. There is very little tension or excitement in a wafer thin story that the film tries to disguise by throwing in as many elements as possible (too many) while doing little with any of them. It's too confused to be properly thought-provoking, cannot decide whether it's trying to be serious or trashy because both of those approaches appear here and the middle third especially is long-winded, in a film that pace-wise lacks momentum badly, and vague.

In conclusion, potentially interesting film with underdeveloped and confused execution. 3/10 Bethany Cox
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A waste of time.
aowens-9990814 September 2018
All of the convoluted pretentiousness of a film school piece with decent production and a few actors who should've definitely known better.
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mlk1816 September 2018
I can only presume so highly misguided spoiled child got a hold of a lot of money from a rich relative and decided to make a movie. This horrible movie-like docu-drama should have been named "Stereotype" or perhaps "Ignorance". Either way it was so off base and laughable I had to turn it off. I feel bad for the good actors that felt they needed the pay day attached to this disaster. I wish they would have started a go fund me page instead. I would have thrown them $10 to turn down this awful $1 DVD bin failure. Run away people, don't waste any of your life watching this painful "movie".
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alexisrousseau13 December 2018
This movie is absolutely the most confusing movie I've ever watched. Granted I'm only halfway through, but it's so hard to follow; I still can't figure out what's going on 1:12 mins in.

*EDIT* AFTER viewing the entire movie, I retract my previous statement. It is definitely a mind twister, the beginning, and middle could have been written in a way that is easier to follow but, the ending wraps it all together. I moved my rating my 3 stars to 5. If you keep an open mind, and know the ending explains everything ahead of time; it's worth the watch. I wish I had known it would eventually make sense prior to starting it! :)
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toniw-6698121 November 2018
With everything that is going on now regarding PTSD, Agent Orange, mass murders and other killings committed by veterans, I think this movie is outstanding. There is a dark side to it that stirs away from the usual documentary type genre. Mario Van Peebles is not your average status quo actor. Always expect the unusual.
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velmontmgmt28 September 2018
A blueprint to changing the narrative of the black experience thats universally relatable. It takes you on an unexpected journey that reveals an ending that is not obvious to predict. With close to a 2hr runtime, I still wanted more, but overall all it gives you a little bit of everything; comedy, drama, thriller, romance, and insight to a traumatizing condition thats rarely humanized especially in the black community. But to add to the value of this movie experience was Mario himself. He did a Q&A afterwards and he's the most gracious, giving, passionate, but overall genuine artist that you'd meet within his position in entertainment. I saw it in the theater but now it's online on iTunes so I'm going to watch it again with the FAM. #NewNarrative
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andyp30024 March 2019
I cannot begin to convey the absolute waste of time this movie is.

The camera work is shoddy, along with the very dubious storyline and awful acting.

Don't bother with this clap trap
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Didn't print my last review
sandsvoteurservices13 October 2018
This move is a waist of time And just another trump hating liberals spreading there messag via Hollywood
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Jacob's ladder meets Magnolia
feverish3017 September 2018
A very strange movie that starts off slow but builds up to a very powerful ending. I came here to see what others thought of this movie and I was dumbfounded by all the negative/bad reviews. Did we watch the same movie?

Maybe it would help to know that this movie is based on true events because this film takes the viewer on a bumpy and sometimes painful ride. We are viewing life through the eyes of "Chief". An ex-US Marshall trying to pick up the pieces of his life after a mission gone wrong, a failed business, alienation from his best friend and separation from his wife.

Strong performances from the ensemble cast and great cinematography and visuals will keep you interested while the story slowly unfolds. It all comes together very nicely at the end and for me, I was like "Oh yea...dang... wow."

I wouldn't call this an action movie at all, it's more of a thriller with some very funny moments. Think Jacob's ladder meets Magnolia.
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Worth a watch
jaekp14 August 2018
This movie is definitely not going to win an Oscar, but acting was good, production quality was good and it was worth watching. The most interesting thing about the film is that it covers pretty much every major hot topic in the news today... gun control, gun vioilence, ethnic tensions, government conspiracies, etc. but somehow it all ties together decently well.

Like the other reviewer said, the middle part of it got a bit windy and confusing, but made sense in the end.
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Might seem far fetched if it wasn't happening in the news today!
hopkinspaik13 August 2018
I rather enjoyed the overall film. I watched it with 2 other friends in a private screening, one of my friends found it too confusing, the other also really enjoyed it as much as me. The middle part of the movie does get a bit confusing (don't want to give any spoilers). But it all makes sense in the end. It's one of those films that you have to think about the beginning and middle after you watch it to the end.

Some who come to see it just as an action film might be disappointed, but if you are looking for something that has some action, a little bit of comedy and a lot of mind bending, you'll enjoy it.
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more people should know about this!
1stcowgirl21 September 2018
1st of all... sorry for My glitchy EN. this specific those who went in as a team and only one got out. im from ISR, iv seen a 21 years old kid that ran one night and opened up the grave of his b' in arm, he went in, lay down beside him, and talked with him all night wondering why he was the only survivor. so yes, in these day & age you need to know whats going on. the main char had a "legit" reason for breaking down. the emphesis is on Breaking Down. prescription durgs, anti depression and what not.............. all these are assumed to be minor and NOT "Legit" issues, well.... they ARE! the Above will break down and Tare Down and UNDERMINE the Base Foundations of the Mind and then the Soul.

everything else was said already, i just want to say that its a shame people dont know about the American Spirit. i guessing americans (good americans) are hoping that this spirit will fix everything in the end, even some of us non american are hoping for this.

lets hope were heading for a change.
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trippy but a fun ride!
lou-035299 August 2018
Reminds me a lot of Johnny Depp's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". Wasn't what i was expecting but I enjoyed it!
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Watch with the right attitude... and you'll go deep
Zeech5 January 2019
As NWA say it's about the attitude and I'm writing this because I saw the LOW ratings and was going to give it a miss but then a single reviewer called it New Narrative and a high score. I'm glad I read their review.

This is an 'Indy' movie, which means some peoples brains hurt because it demands close attention and their attitude was probably 'Guns, Black Man, it's gonna be action!'. It's not Blockbuster ROCK genre, it's indy folks! If it were French made with subtitles it'd killing it in the frappacinno houses. But this is American made and present day, which makes it disturbing because it's holding the mirror up to us today.

If you are American gun owner or not, on medication or not, and travelled to France, UK, Germany etc you'd have some kind of 'narrative breakdown'. Other industrial nations attitude to pain killers, weapons, is so different to ours they'll casually say we're a psychotic nation. And this movie shows that in a brill way, as the ending dialog displays.

Intense profound movie about our present day demons. Go see with an Indy film attitude.
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Amazing story & Acting
dpsteenhoek20 September 2018
Great mix of issues to resolve. Redemption, PTSD, mental health, pressure and encouragement from successful sibling - very well crafted and amazingly executed. This may be Mario's best work acting. It wasn't cocky. It was a strong damaged individual putting on their best face to hide the internal turmoil. Bravo! I see a lot of movies and think this borders on brilliance. I was captivated by how he portrayed the character trying to navigate LIFE. A cry for help on how to cope with life's challenges. A nice homage to "Fight Club" fictional characters. Too bad for the petty Trump attacks. The content stands on it's own.
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Not for cinema lightweights
debramoorewinfrey15 September 2018
This movie isn't exactly mass consumption; it tells a tale artfully, but very dramatically. Sort of an intersection of current events, creative imagery and brutal truth.

Kinda reminded me of Tommy, in a good way.
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4 for the price of 1
zlifb20 February 2020
1) As a bold propaganda piece, the film overtly promotes gun control in the US, blending a few telling statistics into a strong emotional appeal. The style is vaguely reminiscent of An Inconvenient Truth, although not quite so direct without the monotonous voice-over.

2) As a graphic exploration of mental illness, PTSD, depression and paranoia from the sufferer's perspective, the film is truly outstanding. Covering such an intensely personal, private issue on the big screen is hugely ambitious and, for me, the film more than merely succeeds. The sets, scenes, lighting, music, acting and script, working together, open the window on torment - a seething, horrific nightmare playing on a loop inside someone's head. At the same time, the film is neither melodramatic nor pitiful. It treads the line perfectly, somehow managing to string the confusing episodes together in a way that makes sense, telling a powerful story that underpins the propaganda element.

3) As an action film, it's quite weak, passable but constrained by the other two threads. Rather than glorify violence or emphasise the carnage, it is restrained - just graphic enough to make the point but action is not the main focus or purpose. Once again, the film treads a fine line.

4) As a social commentary on US society, the film takes an innovative approach which left me feeling perplexed and helpless, almost hopeless. The tensions in the film are so strong, the positions so deeply entrenched and the interwoven issues so complex that there is no obvious resolution, not even gun control - a subtle paradox that the film brings to life in a truly creative and captivating way.
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