The world loves heist films! American and international cinema has embraced this genre and explored almost every possibility. A group of people, a big payday, a hitch in the plan, maybe even a hold out in the group and you’ve got the basic formula for a heist flick. It’s been a little while since Hollywood has hoisted good heist. Director, Antal Nimród (Neemrode) and actor, Matt Dillon round up a crew for one big score.
Columbus Short (Stomp The Yard, Cadillac Records) plays Ty Hackett, a decorated war vet and rookie armored truck guard. Ty is coerced by five of his coworkers to join them in stealing their $42 million cargo and making it look as though they had been robbed. Their foolproof plan meets a deadly wrinkle, the group begins to unravel and Ty finds himself a lone holdout amid desperate thieves.
Hungarian-American director, Nimród (Vacancy 2007)*, takes a very manly approach to this film. No romance or women to clot this testosterone cannon of a film. He keeps the pace thumping with chases, knuckle busting action, guns and explosions. He also keeps the visuals gritty with special effects, leaving the CGI in the tool box. Nothing new, but a decent redux of vintage guy film elements.
The cast does a good job of selling a mediocre story. Columbus Short fights for his Hollywood life to deliver a performance worthy of a leading role, though he seems, at times, to be a grad of the Denzel Washington school of facial expression. Despite that, he handles the protagonistic call well. The heist crew is comprised of Matt Dillon** as the leader, Laurence Fishburn as the heavy (the pun is in FULL effect here), Jean Reno (fresh off of Couples Retreat), Skeet Ulrich (Scream) and Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break, Max Payne). Milo Ventimiglia of NBC’s Heroes fame joins the fun as the curious Sheriff Eckehart. I’m now a former Heroes watcher and can safely say this is the most interesting story line Milo’s been a part of in a couple years. That show’s on the skids.
This film may not appeal to many women (except my wife, who thinks limb breaking and exit wounds make a movie “awesome!”) but it will quench the adrenaline thirst of teens and middle-aged guys looking to cleanse the palate after taking the wife to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Heist films have a very strong legacy. Armored doesn’t measure up to greats like Heat or Oceans 11 (either one), but it didn’t rob me blind like The Ladykillers did, so I give Armored 2.5 out of 5 Babbles. I would have ranked it higher if it was straight to DVD.
*Antal Nimród is currently directing Predators featuring everyone’s favorite dreadlocked alien game hunters.
**Matt Dillon is also starring in an upcoming heist film called Takers. That film has a higher profiled cast.