The latest from director Nimród Antal (who is also helming the upcoming entry in the "Predator" franchise, called...wait for it..."Predators"), "Armored" may not be in line for an Oscar anytime soon, but as junk goes, this is quite entertaining, stylishly filmed and speedy stuff.
The premise is fairly simple: the picture opens with Ty (Columbus Short) coming back from a tour of duty in Iraq and getting a job as an armored car guard, working with his old friend, Mike (Matt Dillon). One night, Mike lets him in on a plan to steal the car's next stash (a little over $40M), with the help of his co-workers (played by Laurence Fishburne and Jean Reno, among others.) While he's initially against the plan, he does need to take care of his brother, as his parents recently passed away.
When the plan goes into action, the group has an hour before the next check-in. However, as they quickly find out, a lot can happen in an hour. After Ty witnesses what some of his co-workers will do to protect the plan, he locks himself in one of the trucks. From there, the situation turns into meltdown status, with trust between the co-workers - who had previously been friendly or even considered each other "like family" - breaking down rapidly.
When a cop (Milo Ventimiglia) comes looking around into where the group is hiding, the group finds themselves in much, much deeper. Antal manages to generate a good deal of tension, despite most of the movie taking place in a warehouse. Still, there are certainly some considerable plot holes with the script - the robbery seems too easy for the group, for example. The script also doesn't provide for much of an ending beyond the predictable. Still, Antal's cinematic flair and solid performances (a nice mix of actors who do a lot with not a great deal of script) make-up for some of the film's shortcomings.
Overall, "Armored" isn't without flaws, but it zips by at 88 minutes, has a fine cast and shows that Antal has solid potential (and can do quite a bit with so-so material.)
VIDEO: "Armored" is presented in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC) and the results are first-rate. Sharpness and detail are marvelous, as the picture looked crisp and well-defined throughout the show, even during a few dimly-lit stretches.
The presentation does show a couple of traces of edge enhancement, but otherwise appeared smooth and clean, with no pixelation, print flaws or additional concerns. Colors looked steely and subdued (most likely intentional), although appeared accurately presented.
SOUND: The film is presented in DTS-HD 5.1. While the film's audio presentation isn't a consistently slam-bang mix, the picture does certainly provide some solid instances of surround use and deep bass (especially during the pair of car chases.) Audio quality is quite good, with well-recorded effects and dialogue.
EXTRAS: Producer Dan Farah and actors Skeet Ulrich and Milo Ventimiglia offer an audio commentary for the film. We also get a set of a few promotional featurettes: "Armored and Underground" (production design), "Planning the Heist" (making of) and "Crash Course" (stunts). We also get a set of trailers for other films from the studio, as well as BD-Live features (MovieIQ).
Final Thoughts: Overall, "Armored" isn't without flaws, but it zips by at 88 minutes, has a fine cast and shows that Antal has solid potential (and can do quite a bit with so-so material.) The Blu-Ray offers top-notch audio/video and a nice selection of supplements.
The Film B