Thursday, November 4, 2010


Directed by Nimród Antal.
2009. Rated PG-13, 88 minutes.
Columbus Short
Matt Dillon
Laurence Fishburne
Jean Reno
Amaury Nolasco
Fred Ward
Andre Kinney
Skeet Ulrich

Ty (Short) hasn’t been long home from the war and has taken a job with an armored car company. He’s also the legal guardian of his juvenile delinquent brother Jimmy (Kinney) and struggling to pay the mortgage on the house in which they live. So, when his buddy/co-worker/friend of his deceased dad Mike (Dillon) informs him of a scheme for a handful of the guys he works with and hangs out with at the local pub to rob two of the trucks they’re driving Ty, understandably but very reluctantly agrees to take part. Of course, he makes Mike promise “no one gets hurt.” Well, whaddya know? Someone gets hurt. Once that little line in the sand gets cross, Ty transforms into our hero, sorta. Him trying to keep the rest of the gang from killing hem ensues.

Columbus Short impresses. For me, that’s three excellent performances that are better than the movies they’re in. They are also of three very different characters in three different genres. There’s the hard-driving musical drama, Cadillac Records, the screwball comedy Death at a Funeral and now an action flick. I’ve really like him in those. The movies themselves, this one included, are a mixed bag.

Armored isn’t a bad movie. It’s just not as good as it should be. This is through no fault of its cast. Aside from Short and Dillon, there’s also Laurence Fishburne and Jean Reno. It was fun to see Fishburne smile, even if his character is kind of a nutjob. He’s long been one of my favorites, but his roles usually require him to be the ultra-serious type. This movie gives him a chance to cut loose a bit. It’s perhaps his most boisterous role since King of New York, way, way back in the day. Reno is a bit underused, but hey, he’s Jean Reno and is great merely because of that fact because I say so.

This film’s flaws lie in its script and apparent hurry to be over. At a couple ticks shy of 90 minutes, it’s a quick and fun flick that never actually threatens to stick with us. That could’ve been accomplished by letting us get to know the other men and their circumstances. However, aside from our knowledge Palmer (Nolasco) recently became devoutly religious, that’s never done. By the way, the only reason it’s done in his case is simply a set up for the climax to one of the action scenes.

If you’re looking for some action, Armored isn’t a bad way to go. It’s not of the non-stop and constantly over the top variety, but it is intriguing enough to carry us through. It’s just not intriguing enough to become anything more.

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