Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I have become accustomed to movies like this one, ‘Armored’, completely side skirting theaters and heading straight to DVD allowing me to watch these movies in the comforts of my home. You see unlike a lot of you movie snobs out there I don’t place on stigma on straight to DVD movies and in many cases I prefer straight to DVD movies. This is the type of movie that the shirtless boy band pale vampire gay pirate loving demographic has completely turned its back on, leaving straight to DVD for movies such as this as its only outlet. But there I was sitting in the theater eating overpriced popcorn and drinking watered down pop watching a testosterone filled, old school semi-mindless action flick. Can’t beat that with a stick baby.

Things are tough for poor Ty Hacket (Columbus Short). The decorated Iraq war vet’s parents have died recently leaving him to care for his bratty baby brother Jimmy (Andre Kinney), the bills are piling high, the bank wants to take their house, social services wants to take this bratty brother plus he all psychologically screwed up over what went down over there in Iraq. The only thing Ty has going on for him is his good friend Mike (Matt Dillon), a close friend of his late father who has been looking out for him and his brother and who has also gotten the young man a job working with him at the armored car company.

There are quite a few characters at this company such as the hyper violent Baines (Lawrence Fishburn), the skittish Dobbs (Skeet Ulrich), Palmer the religious zealot (Amaury Nolasco) and Quinn the foreigner (Jean Reno). Now Mike really, truly cares for Ty and does his best to look out for him. He cares so much that he agrees to pull Ty in on a heist that he and those previously mentioned co-workers of his have concocted to steal 42 million dollars. Now Ty is a really good guy and has no intention of going along with this plan but considering his life has turned into a country music song turned bad he feels he has little choice, that is as long as nobody get hurt. This is what Mike has promised him. Oh well.

We wouldn’t have much of a movie if the plan goes honey smooth and everybody leaves fat and happy with their loot, now would we? Sure enough everything goes straight to freaking hell, with the chaos capped off by a curious cop (Milo Ventimiglia) getting himself all shot up leaving Ty, all by his lonesome, pitted against his crew of once trusted co-workers who have all gone completely nuts and are trying to find a way to silence Ty for good. Did we mention that Ty was a decorated Iraq war veteran? Because as it so happens some of those MacGyver-esque skills just might come in handy somewhere down the line in this movie. Man, those guys sure do train our boys good.

My friends, if you go into ‘Armored’ looking for wit, cleverness and originality then I really can’t help you there. But if your needs are just some simple raw-dog entertainment then we might have a little something for you. This here movie was directed by one Nimrod Antal whose previous movie was ‘Vacancy’ which I also enjoyed and I think I like this particular director’s style. So much so that despite the fact I despise unnecessary remakes I’m halfway looking forward to Nimrod’s ‘Predator’ reboot. ‘Armored’ isn’t an all out action flick as the majority of the action doesn’t take place until the latter third of the movie, instead Nimrod takes some time to let the actors do what they do, build up a little character, lay out some story and build up a little tension so that when the action does heat up it actually means something.

It does help the cause of these filmmakers that it does have a stellar cast of veteran actors to build this story such as Matt Dillon and Laurence Fishburne, not to sell short Columbus Short who did very well as the films defacto lead, but Dillon in particular helped set this movie apart from others in the genre as he wasn’t the traditional bad guy that we see in movies like this, as this particular film operated in the gray area with its characters in relation to right and wrong. And when we say this is a testosterone filled movie we’re simply not saying that in jest as there is nary a woman to be found in this movie, except for an elderly social worker, because this is a movie that didn’t have time or space for a fluffy love interest.

Now as far as the ‘heist’ part of the movie is concerned, it really isn’t much of one, particularly after taking one brief look at this motley crew of wannabe criminals they gave us. I didn’t have a lot a faith in their abilities to pull off this heist as their ‘plan’ was suspect at best. As the movie continues to play out it won’t be able to shake the painful predictability factor because despite the fact we have some good actors in this movie they were playing stock characters for the most part. And if you are an action junkie, as we mentioned before, it takes a while before the action kicks in so you will have to patient. Though the words ‘action junkie’ and ‘patience’ probably aren’t too terribly congruent so good luck with that you ADD sufferers out there.

Still, I did end up enjoying ‘Armored’ as it was a bit of a throwback style action themed flick that we used to flock to back in the day. Admittedly the theater we saw it in was relatively sparse as most folks were in the adjacent theater catching their 15th viewing of pale shirtless boy band vampires, a theater I personally wouldn’t be caught dead in. Looks like it is back to DVD for my favorite genre of movie which works just fine for me.

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