dir. Nimrod Antal
It is amazing the extent to which one great quality can compensate for so many other mediocre elements in a movie. Take Armored, a movie that, despite a lack of flaws, is as generic as they come. This film doesn't require nor ask for an emotional involvement in the characters. These are all stock types. Even the banter between the men seems recycled from the "Men Hanging Out in Movies" handbook. But goddamned if I wasn't entertained. This sucker moves. Armored is one of the more efficient movies I've seen in some time.
Ty Hackett (Columbus Short) is an Iraq War vet who now works for an armored truck company. To say he's a having a rough time is an understatement. Now that his parents have passed, he is responsible for the well-being of his delinquent, yet artistically gifted, younger brother. Enter Mike (Matt Dillon), longtime friend and co-worker of Ty. Because Ty is such a do-gooder he initially bristles at Mike's invitation to join him and a group of other co-workers in a heist. Even though the plan is supposedly fool-proof (I mean, after all, what could possibly go wrong?), Ty doesn't have a bad bone in him. He abhors the idea of thievery. Eventually, however, Ty has his mind made up for him by a social worker who intends to take away his younger brother, a kid who has skipped more school days than he's attended. Ty needs the scratch if he wants to keep what's left of his family unit intact.
When the group goes through with the heist, everything is turning out swell...that is, until something goes awry, then askew, then afoul, then awry again, and Ty locks himself in an armored truck. Much of the rest of the film involves the other men attempting to break into the truck, while Ty figures a way out. Every moment in this section is more nail-biting than it has any right to be.
Armored is chock full o' great performers (Jean Reno, Fred Ward, Laurence Fishburne). Why such a talented group would perform such nothing roles is beyond me, but I love seeing them on screen, regardless. The screenplay is so generic that each character basically announces his purpose in the film: "Hello, I'm the psycho who's gonna go crazy and kill people, messing everything up." "Hi, I'm the guy who seems crazy, but turns out to be not so bad." "Hi, I'm the war vet who's gonna use his military training to figure a way out of the mess." Everything is exactly as it seems in Armored. It is nevertheless a fun way to spend 88 minutes. Director Nimrod Antal (side note: poor guy) knows what kind of movie he is making and mercifully keeps it short. No sense dragging out the inevitable.