Once in a while, a low budget movie by an inexperienced director turns into a half-decent flick. Armored is about a group of security guards working for an armored car company servicing banks. The guards decide to commit the perfect heist. Their plan is to hijack two of their own trucks and pretend that it was an ambush. There is only one fly in the ointment; their newest colleague Ty, Ty Hacket (Columbus Short) a recently returned veteran from Iraq with high ideals. Hackett is an honest man who is forced to look after his brother since both parents are dead. His brother Jimmy is a half-wit who skips school and spends his time painting owls on the walls. The house is up for foreclosure and the child welfare people are threatening to take the kid away to a foster home because of his truancy.
Eventually, Hackett agrees to go along after the mastermind Mike (Matt Dillon) promises him that no one will get hurt. They highjack two armored cars and drive it to an abandoned factory to stash the money.
This is where things start going sour. They are discovered by a homeless man who is sleeping in the factory. The unlucky hobo is shot by the maniacal Baines (Larry Fishburne.) Hackett tries to save the man but the gang turns on him. He barricades himself in one of the cars. The rest of the movie is about the gang led by cold-blooded Matt Dillon trying to pry him out of the car so they can get the money. As an added suspense, there is a wondering highway patrolman, who is shot by Baines. Hacket manages to pull him into the armored car to save him from being murdered. In desperation, one of the gang members Quinn (Jean Reno) kidnaps Hackett’s brother, Jimmy, to force him to open the door.
I have seen French, Italian, English and American movies about armored car robberies and they all have unhappy endings. In fact, one of the best movies was “They Came to Rob Las Vegas.” It had an original plot that was later copied by some criminals hijacking a school bus. The Spanish director Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi directed that movie in the late 1960’s. It is still being shown on television every now and then.
Apparently, Laurence Fishburne has forgotten his salad days since taking over the title role in the CSI series. He is overweight and his acting consists of throwing his potbelly around and swigging whisky from a pocket flask. Newcomer Columbus Short who is the real star of the movie is a good actor but needs more experience. Every time I see Jean Reno, I think of him as the evil scientist professor Roache in that awful remake of Godzilla. He used to be good before he got fat, rich and famous. He has done some passable work in movies such as the Da Vinci Code and Nikita. As for Matt Dillon, he tries to play the schizophrenic psychopath who will turn on his friends in cold blood, but it does not work. He just does not have it in him. Other than the elderly child welfare officer played by Lorna Raver, who seems to like visiting peoples’ homes in dangerous parts of town late at night, there are no other females in this movie.
Nimrod Antal is a Hungarian director with very limited Hollywood experience. His last movie, Vacancy, was a horror flop about snuff moviemakers and a couple caught in their trap. Surprisingly, this time around, he has managed to create an acceptable (passable) action packed movie. The movie starts slow and lingers on for a while before it gets going. The story, while not original, is quite engaging. The music was extremely loud and rather annoying. Many critics view these movies at their home or office where they have full control over speed and sound. I saw this movie in a movie theatre so I could relate to it from an audience point of view not someone sitting on a comfortable chair sipping coffee or beer with the remote control in his or her hand.
I would give this movie It is good fun. There is some blood but nothing serious and no four-letter words that I could remember.