A B-movie crime thriller about a heist gone wrong, Armored is competently made, efficiently entertaining, but ultimately uninspiring. An impressive cast of character stalwarts, including Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne and Jean Reno, play the increasingly disgruntled employees of the Los Angeles-based armoured car company Eagle Shield Securities. Battered by the global downturn, and unhappy with blue-collar returns on a life-threatening job, the men decide to stage a phony heist and pocket their cool $42 million (Dh154m) payload. The fly in the ointment, however, is a new crew member and idealistic Iraq war veteran called Ty Hackett (Columbus Short), a man who would rather see his home repossessed by the bank and his brother Jimmy (Andrew Kinney) removed by social services than take a single penny of bent money. Thus, after a sprightly opening act, in which the director Nimrod Antal and his venerable cast plus the veteran cinematographer Andrzej Sekula (Reservoir Dogs) all conspire to keep events clipping along apace, Armored slows completely. Here, disgusted with the reality of the botched heist (a vagrant is murdered within minutes), Ty decides to lock himself, together with the pilfered cash, inside one of the armoured cars - think "Die Hard in a van". The movie is thus forced to jump through idiotic and illogical plot hoops to allow the car-bound Ty to dispatch the villains, in true genre mode, one by one. It all ends in a derivative mano à mano tussle, closing with the whimper of déjà vu, rather than the bang of intrigue initially promised.
Published: January 14, 2010 04:00 AM