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Saturday
Dec052009

Armored

I'm a bit of a cynic when it comes to action movies. I don't care how great the action is. If it doesn't have a compelling story or convincing actors, I write it off as rubbish. Well, I'm sitting here writing this after having just seen Armored and I don't know what to think. The story is weak, the action is unimpressive (including one of the lamest and geographically unstructured chase scenes ever put to film), the acting is mediocre and the dialogue is fairly bad, but for some reason, I kind of enjoyed it. It's all so stupid, so utterly implausible that I'm now thinking back on it and realizing that I actually had a good time.

Columbus Short plays Ty, an ex-Marine who has just come back from Iraq and is now working on the police force. He has been promoted to Eagle Shield van security where he rides back and forth transporting millions of dollars. Along with him are his godfather Mike (Matt Dillon), Quinn (Jean Reno), Baines (Laurence Fishburne), Dobbs (Skeet Ulrich) and more. Ty asks for more shifts because his house is about to be taken over by the bank, but there aren't enough to go around, so he is denied his request. On top of that, he is taking care of his younger brother because both of his parents are dead and the Department of Child Welfare is trying to take him away and put him in foster care. Ty needs money badly, so Mike propositions him. They'll be transporting 42 million dollars on their next shift and they plan on stealing it. Ty is reluctant at first, but realizes it's his only way out of his predicament and agrees. Mike promises a foolproof plan and that nobody will get hurt, but his promises aren't kept. Things go wrong and people get shot, at which point Ty decides to turn against the crew.

There are many problems with Armored, both major and minor, ranging from bland direction to narrative inconsistencies. The whole time I was watching it, I couldn't help but think that if I were in that same situation, as Ty or one of the others, I would have done things differently. What Ty does after he switches sides is lock himself in one of the vehicles, so the others decide to break the doors off and kill him. He has no way of escape, except for the various times nobody was watching him because they were distracted with something else. I sat there anxiously, wanting to shout at Ty for being such an idiot and not getting out of there when he had the chance(s).

On the flip side, the rest of the team, which I'll dub "the bad guys," are some of the dumbest men to ever attempt to pull off a heist. As I mentioned, Ty is locked in one of the vans. What I didn't mention is that Ty is new to the team while everybody else is a seasoned veteran. They should know the vehicle inside and out, but they fail to realize there's a hatch on the bottom of it that Ty may be able to slip out of, not to mention that it's way easier to pry open, yet they stand at the back entrance pounding away trying to loosen the hinges instead.

Then there's Ty's master plan. After a cop is shot and he pulls him in the truck, he decides he must get out after finding the aforementioned hatch, so he pastes the money over all of the windows so they can't see what he's doing, only he doesn't cover every single spot and the bad guys never bother to look through the cracks. None of it makes any sense.

Armored is one giant contrivance. When one absurd moment hits, an even more absurd moment comes directly after. Not a single scene rings true in this entire movie, but that's why I liked it. It became fun trying to play "Spot the Inconsistencies" because this film is chock full of them. Though it worked here, I fear it may not in director Nimrod Antal's next film, Predators, a reboot of the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger action picture, but for all intensive purposes, I enjoyed the stupidity that was Armored and I feel comfortable telling others they will too.

Armored receives 2.5/5

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