Armored (UK - BD RB)
Marcus manages to get away from an armored van but decides to go back in
With the bank threatening to take Ty Hackett’s (Columbus Short) house away, leaving him and his brother Jimmy (Andre Kinney) homeless and penniless, Ty is left with no choice but to take up the offer from friend and work colleague Mike Cochrane (Matt Dillon) when he asks Ty to play a part in an inside job at their security firm.
With forty-two million in their security vans, the plan is a simple one. Make it look like a robbery, hide the money, and wait. That is until they are spotted by a hapless hobo in the warehouse they’re stashing the money in and panic turns into murder. Having a flash change of heart and taking refuge in one of the locked vans, Ty only needs to wait it out for fifty-eight minutes until they miss a phone check in and the cops come. However, the rest of his team have other plans and if they get to Ty, he’s in trouble.
This isn’t a remake? Surely this has to be a remake? This feels like a remake of a seventies movie that probably wasn’t that good then and they’ve not made it much better now. I mean, the premise is a sound one, one honest guy in amongst a group of rogues, holed up in a locked security while they try to bash their way in to get him and the last of the money. This could and should be full of tension, but really Armored plays a little too broad for its own good and the writer takes routes that are just plain ridiculous.
Outside of the atrocious dialogue, which is so clunky it’s unreal, and the numerous scenes of unbelievably badly handled twists and turns in the heist gone bad (Matt Dillion’s attempt at lying to sheriff deputy Jake Eckehart (Milo Ventimiglia) is laughable. “Oh there’s no siren in there. No, you don’t want to go in there, erm, err an old dog crawled in there and died erm, err”)
There are glimmers of really wanting Ty to succeed, thanks in large part to Columbus Short’s likable leading man performance. However, it’s the utter stupidity of the story that flatlines the credibility of movie. For starters the fake suspense is laughable. When the team go to pick up their massive money shipment, it’s played like they've already done something wrong, which is ridiculous. At this stage they are just doing their jobs—loading up their van with money. Why is this being played like they have fake ID or are conning someone? This is actually their job. Even more so the amount of times Ty manages to get out of the van only to go back into again for no real reason is absolute insanity. I could swallow it the first time. He saved a cop (though getting back in the van seemed a lesser option to taking the cop out of the building and hiding), but when he sneaks out, goes to the roof to call the cops only to sneak back in again (as opposed to leaving the building to get some more immediate help) Ty’s decision making blew a hole in my caring about what happened next.
Armored is utter junk food with more than its fair share of actors slumming it. Jean Reno brings nothing to the movie, Fishburne has never felt more like he was acting, I’ve never understood how Matt Dillon manages to keep playing the same role time and time again. Really, Armored just ends up another one of those “meh” big glossy movies that all look and feel the same and are about as shallow as kiddies’ paddling pool.
Now the movie might be watchable guff, but thanks to the fantastic transfer it’s a pretty looking load of guff. From the get go the level of detail is apparent. Stubble, shaved heads, skin textures (Laurence Fishburne was born for HD) and even the small things like seeing that Matt Dillion’s ear has been pierced are all shown off with the movies bright warm lighting and sharpness.
The night shots are deep black and the use of shadow to show Dillon’s dark side is also captured well. There’s next to no grain thanks to the bright midday setting of the whole movie and while the action scenes are few and far between, they are pretty well shot and look great in the HD presentation.
As mentioned, there’s really only a couple of action scenes and it’s only in these that the DTS-HD Master Audio track comes alive and quite effectively. Beyond that, it’s just a case of strong dialogue, with Fishburne’s voice booming harder than the rest, especially with his heavy laugh and the clanging of metal as the team try desperately to hammer out the pins in the armoured van’s hinges.
The odd gunshot ups the volume a little and the score can sometimes get quite dynamic throughout the speakers but really the track is doing a fairly standard job without having the opportunity to bring any bells and whistles.
The commentary featuring Producer Dan Farah, Skeet Urich and Milo Ventimiglia is laid back and fairly loose. There are a few good moments (usually unrelated to the actual movie), but the three keep up the pace throughout the movie, offering up small nuggets of fun movie making tales and taking comedy pops at some of actors (and themselves) on screen.
As well as the usual Sony Blu-ray live and MovieIQ features, we have ‘Planning the Heist: Making Of’ (15:19 HD) which is pretty straight forward stuff but gives a good insight from the writer James V. Simpson regarding his intentions with the story and Antal’s approach to it.
‘Armed and Underground: Production Design’ (06:47 HD) looks at the abandoned factory setting as well as the lesser used locations and ’Crash Course: Stunts' (11:30 HD) focuses on the action moments of the movie.
Lastly there are trailers for ‘ Blu-ray is High Definition’, 2012 and Michael Jackson’s This Is It.
This release is a fairly typical Sony affair, with a passable batch of features but a pretty great A/V presentation. The movie itself is an okay watch once movie which I won’t deny had the odd spike of guilty enjoyment. It’s fairly well made and has a short enough run time not to outstay its welcome but it really misses the opportunity to take advantage of its strong cast and utterly failed to convince me why the hell Ty kept going back to that van.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 31st May 2010
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, AUdio Despription Service English. DTS HD 5.1 French, DTS HD 5.1 Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1 Catala
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Dutch, Hindi, Spanish, Commentary Subtitles
Extras: Commentary, Featuettes, Trailers, BD Live, MovieIQ
Easter Egg: No
Director: Nimrod Antal
Cast: Columbus Short, Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Jean Reno, Milo Ventimiglia
Genre: Crime, Drama and Thriller
Length: 88 minutes
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