"Action Thriller Promotes Gun Control and Paganism"
In ARMED, Jason “Chief” Pratt, a former US Marshall, is struggling with flashbacks of his former life working for the government. Now working as a barber, he volunteers to cut the hair of the city’s infamous gang leader. As he cuts his hair, he has a PTSD flashback, which causes him to cut off the gang leader’s ear.
On the run from the gang, he meets Grace, an erotic yoga teacher. Grace helps Jason cope with the trauma of not only being divorced from his wife and lost money earned from the government for the trauma he endured during one of their raids. Discontinuing his medication, he now has to find his way on his own along with his other SWAT Team members, as they try to come back into the real world after being exposed to biohazardous chemicals during one of their raids. His team members now need his help once against they tell him they too are suffering the same psychological symptoms and believe a bigger conspiracy is at work.
As Jason sets off to discover the truth, he’s kidnapped by two men. He is led to a shack in the woods where he discovers a teenager currently missing is one of their other victims. He and Grace escape, killing the two kidnappers and rescuing the teenage girl. Once a danger to society now heralded as a hero, Jason realizes that no matter what he does, he can never escape the guilt that lies deep within his heart. The movie offers an unexpected twist when the audience realizes what the audience thought was real and what’s in Jason’s head is turned completely upside down.
As bloody and violent as this movie is, the message is clear and undeniable: gun violence in America must end now. Beginning with the opening credits of sound bytes of people saying we need to have better gun laws and the greed of organizations like the NRA, to events called “Face painting for gun sense,” the political leaning of this movie is apparent from the first scene until the last. The movie ends with facts about gun violence and the prevalence of guns in America, followed by the word #gunfact, giving the audience an opportunity to spread the movie’s message. This theme of gun violence is not only portrayed through Chief’s PTSD flashbacks but also in posters, blaring television sets and on T-shirts.
Mario Van Peebles has never been better in his portrayal of the psychologically tormented character named Chief in this story based on true events. Accompanied by Ryan Guzman among other well-known actors, he and they deliver stellar performances as former SWAT members suffering from various levels of emotional trauma. However, the movie is sometimes confusing, and its conspiracy theories are nutty. ARMED is also highly violent and sexual in nature. Several scenes of female nudity, gory violence of body parts being blown off, and scenes of the main character covered in cockroaches drive home the message about the harrowing effects of PTSD and guns. It’s pretty disturbing for people of all ages. In addition, there are anti-biblical sentiments that misuse Bible verses, lots of talk about fate and destiny, and references to pagan religion, including yoga, and ARMED is also politically correct, favoring gun control and taking potshots at supporters of Pres. Trump. The combination of all these things add up to a rather abhorrent mess.
ARMED delivers a blatant political message about the importance of gun control in saving lives from gun violence. Director/Writer/Producer/Star Mario Van Peebles portrays an emotionally unstable former US Marshall named Jason wracked with guilt after a SWAT raid goes terribly wrong. Struggling to find his way back to a normal life, his flashbacks make Jason and the viewer constantly confused as to what is real and what is conjured in Jason’s mind. The movie ends in a surprising twist as audiences will question whether what they see is truly reality.
ARMED is well acted, but also silly and confusing at times. The movie pushes a politically correct message favoring gun control, among other things, and also contains disturbing violent content, obscene sexual content, explicit nudity, and lots of foul language. Media-wise viewers will also be upset by scenes that distort what the Bible says and scenes that contain references to pagan rituals and beliefs. The protagonist believes in fate and questions the reality of Heaven and Hell. The combination of all these things add up to a rather abhorrent mess in ARMED.