DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main
SONY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Nimród Antal
Cast:
Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, Amaury Nolasco, Fred Ward, Milo Ventimiglia, Skeet Ulrich, Columbus Short
Writing Credits:
James V. Simpson

Tagline:
They have a plan that's going to catch EVERYBODY off-guard.

Synopsis:
A crew of officers at an armored transport security firm risk their lives when they embark on the ultimate heist against their own company. Armed with a seemingly fool-proof plan, the men plan on making off with a fortune with harm to none. But when an unexpected witness interferes, the plan quickly unravels and all bets are off.

Box Office:
Budget
$25 million.
Opening Weekend
$6.511 million on 1915 screens.
Domestic Gross
$15.988 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $38.96
Release Date: 3/16/2010

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Producer Dan Farah and Actors Skeet Ulrich and Milo Ventimiglia
• “Crash Course: Stunts” Featurette
• “Planning the Heist: Making Of” Featurette
• “Armed and Underground: Production Design” Featurette
• Digital Copy
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Armored [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 15, 2009)

Does a movie need to have major names to boast an “all-star cast”? Perhaps, but if you’re willing to accept a flick packed with well-known but not quite “A”-list names, then 2009’s Armored fits that bill.

Military vet Tyler Hackett (Columbus Short) passes his probation and becomes a full-fledged armored guard for Eagle Shield Security. He suffers from financial pressures, though, and frets that the bank will foreclose on his house.

When fellow guard Mike Cochrane (Matt Dillon) promises that his buddies will help, Ty finds out they propose a radical solution: an inside job. They’ll “jack” the truck themselves, make it look like someone robbed them, and take off with the $42 million. Initially Ty resists Mike’s proposition, but when family pressures become even more intense, he finds himself up against the 8-Ball and agrees to the plan. This seems foolproof and without physical peril to anyone – until a witness observes their attempts to stash the cash.

Armored came and went from cinemas in rapid order, probably because I doubt it enjoyed much positive word of mouth. I doubt it got a whole lot of slagging, either, but I can’t imagine the folks who saw the flick theatrically encouraged their friends to do the same. While not a poor effort, Armored seems generic and forgettable.

When a movie comes with a pedestrian plot, it lives and dies with the quality of its action and plot twists. Neither factor allows Armored to rise above mediocrity. The story curves don’t offer surprises. Indeed, the tale follows such a predictable path that I can’t think of anything here I’d truly deem to be a “plot twist”.

That’s because virtually all of the characters and narrative areas tread upon well-worn territory. The various roles lack any surprise at all, and the various story choices don’t veer down any interesting alleys, either. The script appears to have been written by the Action Flick 2000.

If Armored managed to create some good action sequences, it could’ve overcome its screenplay weaknesses. However, despite a good opportunity for some Die Hard-lite excitement, the film lacks more than rudimentary thrills. It seems torn between its thriller side and its adventure bent, so it doesn’t satisfy either genre. It simply limps along as we wait for the inevitable to occur.

Is it just me, or does the robbery plan seem rather half-baked as well? The characters note that they’ll be at the center of the post-crime investigation, but beyond “laying low”, they never explain how they’re going to make use of the money or avoid attention. If Ty suddenly comes up with the cash to cover his mortgage, wouldn’t that automatically attract suspicion? And do the others just want to hide the funds offshore for a decade and then reap the benefits? I don’t know, but some minor discussion of how they intend to enjoy the money but not get nabbed would be nice.

As for that “all-star cast”, they do give the film a little more depth than usual – but just a little. Short and Dillon receive the lion’s share of the screen time, so the others – including definite talents like Laurence Fishburne and Jean Reno – barely stand out from the crowd. Fishburne’s loose cannon Baines has the most potential, but he just doesn’t get enough to do to make an impact. He exists as a plot device, the guy who complicates situations.

Even a good actor like Fishburne can’t do much to make such a one-dimensional goon effective, and poor Reno gets stuck with an even more basic personality. How can an actor so sublime that he brought verve to the 1998 Godzilla appear so lifeless? It’s like the director told him to play wallpaper.

Because of its generic story line, I doubt that Armored ever could’ve turned into a great action flick. However, I do believe it could – and should – have been more exciting than this surprisingly monotonous affair. With a short running time, Armored goes by quickly enough so that we never truly become bored, but it fails to engage like it should.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Armored appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the transfer looked great.

At all times, the film boasted excellent clarity. Only the slightest smidgen of softness ever appeared, as 99 percent of the flick provided crisp, precise images. I noticed no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge enhancement never manifested itself. In addition, the film failed to display any print defects.

Like most action thrillers of this sort, Armored went with a chilly palette. It avoided the usual cold blues but stayed with subdued tans and earth tones. Within the film’s production design, the hues fared well. Blacks were dark and full, while shadows demonstrated nice clarity and smoothness. I felt quite pleased with this presentation.

Though not as good, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Armored worked fine. Various vehicular elements offered the most active use of the spectrum. This was especially true during a truck chase, and a few other sequences used the various channels in a satisfying way.

Much of the film remained fairly stationary, though, so it didn’t get the usual bevy of big set pieces typical of action flicks. Nonetheless, the spectrum created a nice sense of place, and different segments added to the immersive nature of the track. It doesn’t sound like anything special, but a long scene in which a character hammers on a truck worked surprisingly well; as we went to different spots in the environment, the pounding moved to match the shifts, and it did so well.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music showed good range and vivacity, while effects worked nicely. Those elements came across as accurate and full, with solid low-end response and positive definition. Due to an absence of showy sequences, the track wasn’t bold enough for a high grade, but it seemed worthy of a “B”.

Armored comes with a handful of extras. These launch with an audio commentary from producer Dan Farah and actors Skeet Ulrich and Milo Ventimiglia. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, story/script changes/deletions, and a few other production notes.

At no point does this commentary threaten to become engaging. It throws out a smattering of decent filmmaking facts, but these appear awfully sporadically and don’t tell us a ton about the production. Add to that lots of dead air and this ends up as a snoozer of a commentary.

Three featurettes follow. Planning the Heist fills 15 minutes, 19 seconds and features Farah, Ulrich, Ventimiglia, director Nimrod Antal, screenwriter James V. Simpson and actors Columbus Short, Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Amaury Nolasco, and Jean Reno. “Planning” looks at the story’s origins, development, and research, how Antal and other crew members came onto the flick, cast, characters and performances.

A basic “making of” show, “Planning” never digs very deeply. Mostly it just explains story points and characters, so it doesn’t offer much real information about the shoot. Don’t expect to learn much here.

Armed and Underground: Production Design goes for six minutes, 47 seconds as it offers remarks from Antal, Dillon, Ulrich, Reno, Nolasco, Short, Ventimiglia, Fishburne and production designer Jon Gary Steele. Like its predecessor, “Armed” has a smattering of decent notes, but it takes a self-congratulatory approach to its subject. While we learn a little about the sets, we usually just hear how great they are. I’d prefer more details and less praise.

Lastly, Crash Course: Stunts runs 11 minutes, 30 seconds and provides notes from Antal, Nolasco, Short, Dillon, and stunt coordinator Lance Gilbert. They talk about the design and execution of the film’s action sequences. This never becomes a super-detailed piece, but it covers its subject matter in a satisfying manner. It certainly works a lot better than the two earlier featurettes.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for 2012 and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. These also appear under Previews along with clips for Bounty Hunter, Takers, Soul Power, It Might Get Loud, Extraordinary Measures, Breaking Bad, The Da Vinci Code, and Casino Royale. No trailer for Armored shows up here.

Finally, the package includes a Digital Copy of Armored. With this, you can transfer the flick to a computer or portable viewing device. If that works for you, have a ball.

Although I didn’t expect Armored to reinvent any action wheels, I hoped it’d be a lively caper flick. Unfortunately, it lacks creativity and seems too “by the numbers” to become anything exciting and memorable. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals as well as good audio and some generally forgettable supplements. I can’t say that I dislike Armored, but I can’t find much positive to say about it.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.279 Stars Number of Votes: 43
05:
04:
12 3:
312:
01:
View Averages for all rated titles.

.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main