johnlink ranks ARMORED (2009)

ARMORED is a minor film concerning six armored-car employees who decide to rob the vehicles they drive. It has some nice names in it, with Laurence Fishburne, Jean Reno, Matt Dillon, Skeet Ulrich, and Fred Ward. A $20 million budget was barely earned back with a low impact release. But I’m a sucker for heist films, and I’ll give most any in the genre a chance.

I watched ARMORED (2009) on 6.30.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

I was ready to check out roughly halfway through this movie. The team was established with some generic and uninspired writing. We learn which is the religious guy, which is the action nut, which is the fearless leader, etc.

The team’s ‘problem’, Ty (Columbus Short), is a former soldier pushed to the edge because the bank is about to take his home while he tries to support his younger brother. The first act, then, is getting Ty to the point of wanting to do the job despite his moral dilemmas. Some of this set-up isn’t terrible, and it concerns Matt Dillon being both team leader and doting godfather for Ty.

As the job starts to happen I was very much thinking that this was unfolding exactly how I anticipated. Nothing surprising, nothing inspiring. Then, we get hit with a nice twist and the second half of the movie turns into a poor man’s RESERVOIR DOGS (complete with an unwanted cop). We get these guys trapped in one place, and we know they aren’t all going to make it. Unfortunately, much of the action in the second half concerns the destruction of a couple of hinges, so the going gets relatively slow.

While I give the film credit for dramatically switching gears at the half way point, there is just so much wasted here. Matt Dillon doesn’t convince me he is tough. Jean Reno was a waste of money, not because he was bad, but because they gave him absolutely nothing to do. The religious nut was stuck in cliche city. The attention to detail is horrendous. I’m sorry, but armored car guys do not walk around the bank with their guns drawn looking suspiciously at people. If you are doing a delicate heist, you don’t run your truck through the mud and crash it into things.  This is the film which Director Nimrod Antal worked on directly before PREDATORS. I think he learned a few things between the two, because PREDATORS is a more realistic feeling film than ARMORED (and PREDATORS isn’t exactly a mecca of realism).

I think, for me, the biggest problem was that the job never felt routine to these guys. Being an armored truck driver is relatively mundane. Yes, you are carrying large amounts of money and you have to wear a gun. Yes, there is always a threat of danger. However, when you go to the same places day after day, when you see the same people day after day, it all becomes bland. I didn’t buy the heist, because I didn’t see what was wrong with the lives these guys had. It seemed like they were happy. They had good friends, some had kids, they had a great boss. Everyone got along, and they joked and played well together. Where was the inspiration to do a job? There is no hint of boredom, no show of desperation. The only one who has reason, it would seem, is Ty. And he’s the one who wants nothing to do with it!

ARMORED has a couple of clever ideas, but it never really gets off the ground. I hadn’t seen Columbus Short in anything, but I liked him enough to want to see more of his work. That’s about all I got out of this. I was mildly entertained for one viewing, and this isn’t hard to watch, or an abomination to film, or anything dramatic like that. Sometimes a movie just never finds its footing, never establishes itself, and never quite gets where it wants to go. ARMORED is a prime example.

SCORES

FILM: 2; MOVIE: 6; ACTING: 4; WRITING: 3

2+6+4+3+0=15

FINAL SCORE: 3.75

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~ by johnlink00 on July 1, 2012.

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