Friday, December 04, 2009


ARMORED (Nimród Antal, 2009)

Six armored truck guards scheme to steal $42 million dollars from the very vehicles they're protecting in ARMORED. Ty (Columbus Short) is the newest hire at the security company. The former Marine badly needs the job as he has returned home to caring for his truant younger brother and trying to keep the bank from taking the house he inherited.

Ty's co-worker and family friend Mike (Matt Damon) promises to look out for him. The night before the planned heist Mike clues Ty in to what he and the other armored guards have cooking for their next work day. Initially Ty refuses to take part, but his financial needs win out over his moral objections. When the heist goes awry, Ty is forced to outwit the other guards to survive.

ARMORED has the components of a tight little genre movie, something director Nimrod Antal turned out two years ago with the motel thriller VACANCY. A significant amount of ARMORED takes place in a single, relatively confined location. The cast features seasoned pros, with Laurence Fishburne and Jean Reno as guards and Fred Ward as the tough boss who wouldn't be happy to know what some of his employees are up to. A ticking clock looms over the proceedings, as the trucks are due back at headquarters in less than an hour. The hero must outsmart his antagonists while locked in an armored truck.

The screenplay and Antal's direction are executed with workmanlike efficiency. With all of these things in place, ARMORED should crackle with nervous energy; however, the bland characters don't get much of interest to do and are virtually interchangeable as they take whacks at the pin they're trying to remove from an armored truck's door hinge. Dillon gets a couple chances to menace and preen as the villain, but the role remains something of a missed opportunity. Since ARMORED focuses on monotonous work under pressure, the dialogue needs some sizzle but mostly fizzles.

Grade: C

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