Armored (2009)

Action, Crime, Thriller
Columbus Short, Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Jean Reno
A newbie guard for an armored truck company is coerced by his veteran coworkers to steal a truck containing $42 million. But a wrinkle in their supposedly foolproof plan divides the group, leading to a potentially deadly resolution.
This B-grade thriller has a good cast and director but is undone by plot holes and messy conclusion.
  • Sony/Screen Gems Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 04 Dec 2009 Released:
  • 16 Mar 2010 DVD Release:
  • $16.0M Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

Entertaining little thriller6/10
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.

6/10
Cool B-movie badassery7/10
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 ...

Right.

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.
Armored3/10
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 movie, surprisingly tense7/10
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.
So that's the plan, huh. Just drive the truck into a building.3/10
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