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I'm not here to tell you "Armored" is Kubrickian, Hitchcockian or
Fellini-esquire. Nope. Referenced directors are more like Don Siegel
("Charlie Varrick") and Walter Hill ("The Warriors"). Those two helmers
didn't fool around with niceties like putting women in their movies. No
skirts need apply. They unapologetically made guy movies. Guns, lots of
guns. Men met violent death with a twitch of the jaw. Their movies were
like a sap to the head. You want a friend? Get a dog.
"Armored" is so a guy movie. Dueling armored trucks? Bloody gunshot wounds? Exploding money? If that doesn't get the lizard part of your brain excited, then stay away.
At 88 minutes, "Armored" is all muscle without an ounce of fat. We meet six security guards who drive armored trucks, three per truck. The six, led by Matt Dillon, scheme up a fake hijack involving two trucks. Their mission one day is to deliver $42 million from the federal reserve (I think). The idea is to drive both trucks to a warehouse, stash the cash, then stage a hijack. Sure, the cops will suspect them, but if they stick together they'll get through it.
Trouble is, one of the six, played by Columbus Short, is a holdout. At first. But he faces eviction. And he's the guardian for his messed up younger brother. He needs cash bad.
Matt Dillon cajoles, pleads, persuades the holdout. No blood on anyone's hands. A clean getaway. All good, no bad. You'll be rich forever. Blue skies smiling at you ...
Everything goes to hell, of course. It's one damned thing after another and the stakes keep going up. And it almost all happens claustrophobically inside an abandoned warehouse somewhere in Los Angeles. In fact, the movie goes out of its way to project a backdrop of industrial urban decay. I happen to like industrial urban decay.
Kudos to Matt Dillon, who plays the top bad dog. He goes from charming to disappointed to frustrated to outraged to totally effing insane in the course of the movie. Love that guy.
Also, credit is due to the menacing, throbbing, blistering and totally sinister electronic soundtrack by John Murphy. I am guessing he's heard a few Tangerine Dream records.
Also, it's surprising that this is a PG-13 movie. I caught one one! f-bomb in this entire movie about violent tough-guy robbers. On some level, I like that. Take the kids.
The director is Nimrod Antal, a Hungarian who made a fine noir set in the Budapest subway system called "Kontroll." Screenwriter is an out-of-nowhere guy called James V. Simpson.
A lot of the people in this movie are just starting out. I am willing to bet the esteem given to this movie will rise as time goes on and these filmmakers advance in their careers.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At the heart of almost every truly great crime thriller is a carefully
considered, methodically planned-out high stakes super-crime, which 9
times out of 10 is committed by a bunch of likable, grey-scale morality
underdogs for who life isn't fair, for whom getting back at the man is,
well, something worth cheering for. First-time screenwriter James V.
Simpson's script for Armored gets this half right. He made
extra-double-sure that we've got nothing but sympathy for the recently
orphaned, Iraq war veteran Ty Hackett (Stomp the Yard's Columbus
Short), who's about to have his house taken away by an evil bank
(brother, I've been there). And he gave Ty a good family friend in Mike
(Matt Dillon) who is super nice and gets him a job at the armored car
company that he works at with Baines (Lawrence Fishbourne) and some
weird French dude (Jean Reno). These guys like to have fun and play
pranks, but they are also serious armored car guys too, so that means
they carry guns and are tough.
After a short while, as one theoretically watches Armored, one might start to think as I did, that maybe - just maybe - this is going to be some kind of awesome, tongue-in-cheek, cornball heist movie with some on-the-nose characterizations that move the story along its natural course, cranking up the personal stakes of all involved in hopes of unveiling a really, really clever plan with lots of potential 'holy sh*t' moments. I mean, the music alone is textbook heist-movie - gritty, edgy beats working overtime as we're treated to close-ups of characters who say things like "As a matter of fact I do," and "Are you crazy??" For 45 minutes or so, the movie had some serious genre-flick potential.
Then things start to really stink. These dudes, these idiots, have no plan. There's no "Ok, here's what we're gonna do..." scene, no blueprints, no explosives, no black van or ski-masks (despite their 'test-run', as can be seen in a trailer). No, these guys are going to steal $42 million dollars from their own trucks (which are only being tracked by HOURLY contact over the radio, despite being equipped with some fancy, big-deal 'GPS technology'), and they aren't even going to sit down and discuss it. Hell, Mike only tells Ty about the plan the night before, which is completely ridiculous. But of course, Ty's got his house to think about so as long as Mike promises that 'no one will get hurt,' he's on board. Guess what, though. Somebody gets hurt. Why? Because, besides driving the trucks into an abandoned factory to hide the money, they have no plan. That was it. That was how far they thought things out. So, naturally, things start to unravel. These cats deserve everything they get for being so unprepared.
This script, frankly, feels like it's like the product of some bad improv game: "Armored Car, robbed by its own guards...GO!" Despite some half-decent buildup that could have maybe taken the film in a few interesting directions, the story just completely falls apart, and pretty soon, NOTHING makes sense, or is even remotely plausible.
When filmmakers don't have a cool "hook" for their heist, their characters seem stupid, and bungling. And when characters are stupid, and bungling, it's hard for an audience to invest in them, and their story. And when that happens, any suspense drains out the bottom of the movie, leaving a laughable, hollow husk.
Skip it. 3/10
I had been amazed by director Antal's Kontroll back in 2003. His first
American project, Vacancy, was less impressive but a decent start.
Armored is his second feature and while the visual signature is
recognizable, the film never rises above the level of a B movie.
It's a shame because the main premise has all the ingredients for twists and turns and the ensemble cast featuring many quality actors should be able to deliver. Antal could have made a great heist film but instead goes for an action flick. Then again he could have shot a cool action flick but it doesn't really deliver in that department either.
What you are left with is one implausible situation after another, a group of poorly sketched characters bicker and fight over a sum of money. If you look past the sharp cinematography, cast and the tight music score, you're left with what could have been a below average direct-to-video featuring Van Damme or Seagal.
This was probably the most disappointing movie for me in quite some time.
Good, boring or bad? It's good. Worth your money? If you can spare it
for a ticket, sure. Better than the trailer makes it seem? Yes, oddly.
There isn't much to the script - Guards working at armored truck company move vast amounts of cash. Guards see opportunity to retire as millionaires, one of them is too honest to go along with it all, and a well-laid plan goes to hell.
This could have been a poorly-executed Reservoir Dogs ripoff, but the skill of the cast and the director's ability to make just about anything tense pull it out of that realm and put it onto a solid footing.
Armored tells the story of a few armored truck company workers who
conjure a plan to steal 42 million dollars that they were suppose to
transport. To pull this off, they need Ty, an Iraq war veteran who just
joined the company. At first, Ty refuses to be a part of the scheme,
but he desperately needs the money since he's in risk of loosing his
house and his little brother might be taken away from him. Ty ends up
agreeing with the all thing, but not before Mike, the leader of the
guards, promise that no one will get hurt... Armored is a fast-moving
heist film with a good amount of action and some unpredictable twists.
Obviously, everyone can tell that things are not going to go smoothly
but still, there are a few surprises and the film doesn't become
predictable at any point. Looking at the cast of Armored, which is
comprised by very well known actors like Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburn
and Matt Dillon, one might expect a tremendous film given the quality
of the actors, but that's not case. I'm not saying it's a bad film,
it's not by any means but, it's not a film with depth either. If you're
expecting something like that you'll be disappointed. This is a popcorn
movie, there's not much to think about here, just turn your brain off
and enjoy it. The acting was average with the exception of Matt Dillon
who really stood out as the leader of the "bad guys". His character is
a mean son of a bitch and Dillon played the role perfectly. The film
fell a bit short in the third act though because the ending seemed a
bit rushed. Bottom line is, Armored is entertaining and therefor a good
watch, just make sure you know what kind film you're about to see.
I was disappointed. I usually like heist movies but this one -
"Armored" - was not smart, if you want a heist movie where they put
together a great plan for the heist and there is tension to see if the
plan will succeed and if they can get away with the money this is not
that type of movie.
The heist plan in this film is one that was put together by dumb brutes and is not a focus of the movie. The movie is all about bloody action scenes with guns. Probably the biggest star in the movie is Laurence Fishburne, and he has put on a lot of weight and gotten fat, and none of the acting is all that good for any of the characters. But even as a dumb action movie it isn't anything special or worth seeing.
I went to see this movie today, with hopes that it would involve an at least half-intelligent story. I was extremely disappointed, as it did not. The plot, and the decisions by the main character, were so far-fetched. I was hoping for a "Dog Day Afternoon"-type movie, but instead got something totally unacceptable. I actually found myself totally hoping for the "hero" to be knocked off, and I nearly walked out of the theater on several occasions when this should have happened but didn't. Heist movies are notmeant to be feel-good flicks, and this one tried to be just that. Every couple of minutes during the second half of the movie, I found myself saying, "no way". Without giving the whole story away, it revolved around an armored car guard who was financially down and out, and whose house was going into foreclosure. He was invited in on a heist, and accepted, only to back down once the action began. Weak.
Alas despite a top-notch cast of Jean Reno, Matt Dillon and the normally reliable Lawrence Fishburne can't save this supposed "Action flick" of becoming a tasteless turkey. A basic story where security guards for an armoured truck company decide to steal millions of dollars of money but a newbie panics and it's splits up the team leading to problems. The script is terrible and very clichéd and even though the movie for the first half hour tries for character development (as it tried to be a sort of drama but fails miserably as it isn't touching in the slightest) it just leads to pointless talk about inconsequential things and as a result you just get bored. The film was far to slow in getting started and the action, well there was little of as it became more and more far fetched and actors who couldn't act. I was quite disappointed with this film particularly with Lawrence Fishburne as he was outstanding as Morpheous in the Matrix, as Ray Langston in CSI and great in a small cameo role in the recent predators. Though he did try better than the other actors the script didn't help. This is a movie which is bad in all departments and in the end I didn't care about the characters and what happened to them. This was an hour and a half but it felt like three hours. A bad movie all round and one to avoid.
I have to admit that I am disappointed after seeing this movie. I had expected so much more from the trailers. The movie was absolutely horrible. It lacked a real story line and the acting was not exactly the best. Don't waste your time. The movie is not what the trailers lead you to think it is. I would have to say that I don't usually write anything about movies on IMDb (in fact this is my first one) but this movie was such a disappointment that I registered just to let people know not to waste their time or money. The story line is that of a heist that is to happen and it looks like it had potential to be good but the things that happen in the movie are a little far fetched to be believable. Watch another movie instead, maybe the inside man???
Now I'm not calling Armored the next Heat or Dog Day afternoon. It's
not as good as Reservoir Dogs, the usual suspects, Oceans 11 or even
Inside Man or The Town. Nonetheless, it's a solid action movie with
Solid is really the perfect word for this. Everything is solid. The plot is solid. The acting is solid. The suspense is solid. The gritty feel is solid.
the premise is simple enough. Columbus Short plays Ty Hacket, an Armored truck guard and Iraq war veteran struggling to make ends meet for him and his teenage brother. (Their parents are dead). Matt Dillion plays Mike, Ty's co-worker and father figure of sorts. He wants to rob their own armored car with their other workers (played by Laurence Fishburne, Jean Reno, Amaury Nolasco, and Skeet Ulrich).
The heist is pretty poorly planned, but that's what I liked. These characters weren't criminal masterminds, just a couple of ordinary guys who got greedy. Without spoiling too much, the heist obviously goes wrong and next thing you know, Ty has locked himself in one of the trucks with the money.
This film is an example of what I call "trapped movies" (films where the majority of the film involves some trapped in something. Other examples include Buried and 127 hours). The film did a solid job of keeping my attention and staying suspenseful.
The acting is pretty good. This is the first movie I've seen with Columbus Short and I thought he made a strong protagonist. I'd like to see him in other work. The always great Matt Dillion is just as good as he's ever been. The rest of the cast does a good job, but nothing outstanding.
The main problem with this film is the plot holes. There are quite a few illogical things in the film. However, if you're able to successfully suspend disbelief, then you'll have a good time.
The film also asks some interesting questions about money and greed and what Ty could of or should have done in the film. It makes you think.
This film came out in December 2009, (AKA Oscar season). Now this certainly had nothing Oscar worthy, but for what it was, it was pretty entertaining.
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