Armored (2009)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Thriller  |   Release Date - Dec 4, 2009 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Jeremy Wheeler

A group of armored-truck guards scheme to steal 40 million dollars in this by-the-numbers pressure-cooker thriller whose heat never delivers enough steam to make a trip to the flick worth it. Hungarian-American Nimród Antal once again heads back to blue-collar ensemble-land, hearkening back to his stellar debut, Kontroll, yet here he finds himself saddled with thinly sketched boneheaded characters surrounding the one sympathetic character in the bunch. The end result is a heavy tale that doesn't allow the audience to immerse themselves in the drama -- annoying instead of engaging the viewer at most turns. It doesn't help that the marketing for the film basically laid out the entire picture before it was even screened -- which, funny enough, doesn't end up making that much difference since the trailer was just as flat as the film it so succinctly summed up.

The plot surrounds Ty Hackett (Columbus Short), a young armored guard who gets pulled into a scheme to rob a large shipment with his co-worker buddies. Facing foreclosure and the Child Welfare Department over his delinquent teenaged brother, whom he was put in charge of after the recent death of their parents, Ty goes along with the gang's idea, urged on by his godfather and mentor on the job, Mike (Matt Dillon). The plan is disrupted when a homeless man is caught watching them hide the loot in an abandoned steel factory and killed by the most careless member of their team (Laurence Fishburne). This pits the team against the moral Ty, who locks himself inside one of the two armored trucks (along with half the money) while working out a way to get himself -- and later an injured police officer (Milo Ventimiglia) -- out of the sticky situation.

And, really, that's about it. The only surprises here are the ways in which Ty decides to save himself at multiple points by *spoilers ahead* blowing up the money, which is ironic since apparently destroying 40 million dollars comes with a reward, thereby wrapping up the flick with a feel-good ending. *spoilers end* In the action department, Armored is serviceable, but fails to provide the thrills, delivering just one mind-boggling truck chase sequence, in which the two trucks seem to drive around a warehouse district for quite some time, only to crash into the same building that they came from. In the acting department, a few familiar faces (Dillon, Fishburne, Jean Reno, Skeet Ulrich) show up for their paychecks, but add little to their already anemic roles. Generic, yet executed with just enough class to push the picture into the theaters, Armored sinks itself to the bottom of the botched heist film genre and proves that Hollywood still has no beef with pushing out regurgitated product.