"That's not flying! That's falling- with style!"
A young security guard, trying to support his younger brother, decides to aid his co-workers in the robbery of the armored cars they've been assigned to guard, only to have them turn on him when he refuses to take part in a murder.
I can't say this movie is entirely unremarkable, just mostly. Even then, I'm not sure I'm ready to say unremarkable is entirely bad.
From Next Day Air, the second review I ever posted, to my review of 2012 not even a month old, I've said again and again that this is an entertainment industry and when your dealing with entertainment sometimes a good time has to be enough (I believe my catch phrase is: "It's not going to change your life."). If that's a valid thought for the Hangover, then it's a valid thought for these others.
Armored, boiled down, is popcorn fair. Decent popcorn fair, but that none the less. The performances are all strong, if beset shallowly, with Columbus Short proving he's leading man material (something I've been saying about him for a while now)by pulling a quality performance from less than epic scripting. The music is by and large ignorable, as is the cinematography outside of one, kind of genius shot that seemed really out of place as such. Not that anybody was expecting such- but all the same I wouldn't hold my breath for Oscar nominations out of this one.
The films action sequences are lean and by the book; no credit card kills in this piece. In fact the crown jewel of this movies action offerings comes by way of an armored car chase (you see what I did there?) that seemed necessary story wise but oddly drawn out to me. It's locations are simple as well, with the bulk of it's scenes taking place in either an abandoned steel mill or one of two armored trucks. Though I will say the armored trucks make for interesting set pieces to someone like me who is completely ignorant to their functions and capabilities. Suffice it to say if your looking for sweeping Middle Earth-esque vistas- boy did you stumble into the wrong theater.
And at this point your asking: "Why did you start off defending 'good time' movies if you were just going to pan this one anyway?" Believe me, I was wondering the same thing coming out of the theater. My head was full of ho-hum observations, yet I wasn't willing to dispraise the movie. "Why?" The characters dear reader, the characters.
Writer James Simpson (In his debut attempt) has done a superb job writing six "Everyman" characters to make up the larceny bound security crew, and the cast puts that writing to good use. A surprising amount of attention is paid to offering back story, insight, and motives. Matt Dillion hands in an interesting "villain" in that I found myself never being able to fully hate him. I saw him more from the point of view of Short's character, to whom he is god father, and felt more betrayed than anything else when Dillion finally did turn on him with the rest of the crew. And even the other members of the crew are treated not as faceless bad guys to over come, but relevant personifications... though one wonders how Jean Reno ended up in there. By far the characters are Armored's strongest attribute, out doing the basic story (and it's execution) with ease.
I don't think anyone will find themselves cheering out loud. The "hero" is one of the thieves after all- and maybe that's rightfully so as we see very early in the film that redemption is what he's after in the first place. When all is said and done Armored is a good "just out to see movie" pick. You'll have a good time, eat some good popcorn and leave happy- but it's not going to... well you know.
The Reel Deal Recommends:
Accepted: A rather enjoyable comedy with Colombus Short that I'm mentioning becuase I already recommended the underestimated Stomp the Yard last time.
Crash: For another great performance from Matt Dillion.
The Professional: Jean Reno as the lead in a movie I don't have enough space to gush about.