Reviewed by: Donald Munro

"Clips along at a fast enough pace for you to avoid noticing its flaws."

In Armoured, Columbus Short plays Ty Hackett, a security guard and driver working for an armoured truck company. This recently discharged Iraq war veteran has been landed in an impossible situation - and one that is somewhat contrived. Both of his parents have died and he has guardianship of his younger brother. He is financially crippled by his parents' mortgage and medical fees and as a result will lose their house to the bank and then his brother to social services. Reluctantly, he agrees to take part in the fake hijacking of two armoured trucks orchestrated by his colleagues. As Mike Cochrone (Matt Dillon) puts it: "No one's gonna gets hurt" and "There are no bad guys, only good guys."

The movie starts by building up the characters and their relationships. The actors playing guards all put in solid performances, though their characters can hardly be described as complex. This is done with humour. You get a good sense of camaraderie shared by the guards. Here the film relies on the personal charisma of the actors, particularly Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne and Matt Dillon. It could have dragged like a bad cop show but they make it work.

Copy picture

After the trucks have been hijacked, the film turns into a fully fledged action movie. Everything goes wrong - there are fights, gunfire and explosions. People get hurt, people do bad things. The earlier work on characterisation goes right out of the window and the plot starts to look ropey. Outside of action movie logic the characters actions don't make much sense, rational or emotional. This film has the opportunity to go down the tense character driven route but chooses not to. Instead it clips along at a fast enough pace for you to avoid noticing its flaws. All the way from its Tim Roth (Mr Orange, Reservoir Dogs) style shot cop (Milo Ventimiglia) to its morally dubious ending. The action is tense and pared down, with nothing superfluous, just like it should be. Just don't stop to think.

One thing that deserves a mention is the sound. At the start of the film an excellent job is done of seamlessly blending incidental noises into pulsating music which sets the ear for the rhythmic pounding on the hijacked trucks' doors that occurs later in the film.

If you're in the mood for an old school heist gone wrong action movie then Armoured hits the mark. It doesn't have much depth and the plot is creaky, but it is a lot of fun.

Reviewed on: 22 Jan 2010
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Armoured packshot
A former soldier in financial difficulty is persuaded to take part in a heist, but nothing goes to plan.
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Director: Nimród Antal

Writer: James V Simpson

Starring: Columbus Short, Matt Dillon, Milo Ventimiglia, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne

Year: 2009

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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