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'ARMORED': Just a hint of war in mostly standard crime/action drama

December 7, 2009
By Tony Rutherford
Two of the films’ opening in cinemas last weekend grappled with a former almost automatic box office doom to the film’s chances — characters who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and returned home.

Previously, stories about the current wars have proven lethal. Viewers have avoided them, including less than expected performances by 9/11 recreations.

Whether a ‘thaw’ occurs on these themes depends on box office support.

One of the newly released film's has opened weakly; the other strongly.

“Armored” has a war vet working a job as a team member for a security company whose GPS tracked armored vehicles routinely handle multi-million dollar Federal Reserve transfers. That’s temptation for almost anyone.

Ty, Christopher Short’s character, has come home physically and mentally intact, except he hates killing; he saw too much of that while deployed. Threatened with foreclosure and the loss of his wayward younger brother, he’s ripe for juggling a quandary.

What started as a group of ashen faced, march-in-unison, and height-of-vigilance armed defenders of justice in an absolutely resolute ensuring daily that no one snitches a dollar from multiple Powerball jackpots evolves into dangling an apple in what could become Eden. Of course, it’s a simplistic, perfect crime — like those that have fouled up actual and cinematic thieves for generations.

Removing Short’s staunch morality struggles would reduce the pic to just a plain, cliché reliant action drama.  His addition — and that of inner valor — elevates without christening the still formulaic production. Wisely avoiding an elaborate caper scenario, the bunch of guards rolling the dice for their own illegal islands in the sun maintains interest even as their disintegrating character flaws seem as a slasher body count down in reverse.

Yet, the synchronistic stretches rational limits (would an armored car busting with cash routinely be on a route that’s out of radio range for an hour?); Ty’s war learned stealthy slippage; and at least one or more conveniently blown opportunistic let’s call them earlier resolutions.

An abandoned steel mill has gritty symbolism with all the potential sniper encroachments to the theatre of war, which may demonstrate the nervousness still found in current wartime flicks. Just a hint is more comfortable than domination. We as a country just aren’t ready.

“Armored,” found a means of carving that niche. Veteran, patriotic, yet normal — assimilating in a middle of the road way back into society. And, too, it will forever be a mostly unappreciated B-level crime/action drama that contains a whiff of cunning storytelling.

Fact Box

Two and a half stars out of five

 
 

 

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