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Armored (2009)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 3/16/2010

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 3/20/2010

I've got an idea for a new reality show. It will be called Great Idea. On the show, writers will appear and present their idea for a movie. There won't be any judges, audience, or voting from America. We will simply hear the great ideas that the writers have. And by doing this, this guarantees that we'll never have to actually sit through the movie. So many movies have good ideas and then go nowhere. We want to admire the writer for creating such a great concept, but why should we have to suffer through a bad movie. If only the first contestant had been the writer of Armored.

Armored follows a group of men who work for an armored car company. As the story begins, they finish their hazing of new employee Ty Hackett (Columbus Short), by leading him to believe that the truck is being hijacked. Following this, while celebrating this prank, the other members of the crew -- Mike (Matt Dillon), Quinn (Jean Reno), Baines (Laurence Fishburne), Palmer (Amaury Nolasco), and Dobbs (Skeet Ulrich) -- share stories about the most infamous armored car heists. Back at home, Ty is faced with the reality that the bank is threatening to foreclose his house, and he's having trouble taking care of his little brother, Jimmy (Andre Jamal Kinney). The next day, Mike approaches Ty with a proposal -- the crew is going to fake a hijacking, destroy the trucks, and stash the money for themselves. Ty has no interest in committing such a crime, but he desperately needs the money, so he agrees. Soon, the group is involved with the biggest cash transfer of the year. They make their first stop as scheduled and then take the trucks to an abandoned steel mill in order to put the plan in motion. But, when things begin to escalate, Ty changes his mind, which only angers his co-workers. Who will succeed in this deadly stand-off?

As noted above, Armored presents us with a good idea. The typical heist film suddenly turns into a siege movie. Ty locks himself inside one of the trucks and Mike must find a way to get him out. We think that this is going to be something like The Italian Job, but suddenly it turns into something akin to Night of the Living Dead, but instead of a house and zombies, we are treated to an armored car and security guards. Guards robbing an armored car, that's good, right?

The movie spends the first act setting up the characters, Ty's situation, and the plot. But, after that, Armored becomes a one-note movie. Please allow me to summarize most of the movie:

"Get out of the truck."


"Get out of the truck!"


"We're going to take the door off of the hinges."

"Go ahead."

"When we get you out of there, we're going to kill you."


"We've got Sucre from Prison Break out here."

"I don't know who that is."

"It's too bad that you don't have a wife or girlfriend that we could threaten in order to manipulate you."

"Thanks, now I realize just how lonely I truly am."

It's as if writer James V. Simpson thought of the premise and then tried to come up with as many variations of "Get out of the truck" as possible. As Jean Reno is in the film, I'm surprised that he didn't start yelling "Get out of the truck!" in French. In case you aren't getting the gist of this, the last hour of the movie is incredibly tedious. With Ty trapped in the truck, Simpson has tried to give the character as many things as possible to do, but the interior of an armored car is limited, as is the scope of the film.

When the film stops being as stagnant as humanly possible, Director Nimrod Antal, who made the impressive Vacancy and is helming the upcoming Predators, shows that he can shoot an action scene. While essentially pointless, the two car...truck chase scenes in the movie are well-done. By that same token, the cast is good as well. There are going to be many of you who pick up the Blu-ray Disc or DVD box in the store and say, "Hey! I know all of these guys!" But, a familiar cast does not a good movie make. Even when he's playing good guys, Matt Dillon always seems to have an undercurrent of menace, so he's good here as the unhinged (pun intended) Mike. The other guys are good as well, but again, they don't have much to do other than loiter around a truck and look menacing. There's a cameo by Milo Ventimiglia, who looks far too young to be playing a police officer.

If any genre needed a kick in the britches, it was the heist film, so kudos to Armored for trying something different. It's too bad that the movie runs out of gas before the half-way mark. As with many "good idea" movies, this would have made a great short film, but as it is, I got the feeling that the filmmakers were doing whatever they could to stretch this out to feature-film length. An impressive cast and an up-and-coming director are wasted here, as was my time.

Armored wants out of the truck in case you hadn't heard on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no defects from the source material and no overt grain. The image has an admirable crispness to it and this yields an impressive amount of detail. While the movie is filled with "industrial" colors, the colors do look good and the image is never too dark or bright. The depth is good as well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are very nicely done and we always have a sense of when action is taking place to the left or right of the screen. The surround sound effects are top-notch and they really immerse the viewer into the action. Likewise for the subwoofer effects which do an amazing job of making us feel the horsepower of the trucks.

The Armored Blu-ray Disc contains a handful of extras. We start with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Producer Dan Farah and actors Skeet Ulrich and Milo Ventimiglia. "Planning the Heist: Making Of" (15 minutes) is a piece which explores the film's production. We begin with comments from Director Nimrod Antal and Writer James V. Simpson, who discuss the genesis of the project. From there, we get a look at the cast and characters. The piece includes a nice amount of on-set footage. "Armed and Underground: Production Design" (7 minutes) introduces us to Production Designer Jon Gary Steele who describes the creation of the industrial complex sets. Stunt coordinator Lance Gilbert teaches the cast to fight in "Crash Course: Stunts" (12 minutes), where we also see the choreography of the car chase.

Review Copyright 2010 by Mike Long