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‘Armored’ difficult to defend

December 10th, 2009

When asked about the effect he was hoping to illicit from the audience, “Armored” star Columbus Short said, “I want them to remember Columbus Short.” An egotistical response? Maybe. But nevertheless, he made himself known in the latest action-thriller movie.

Director Nimrod Antal’s ethically challenging and high-paced film included some high-profile actors such as Matt Dillon (“Crash”), Laurence Fishburne (“The Matrix”) and of course, Short.

Short plays Ty Hackett, an Iraq War veteran who returns home to find a troubled brother struggling to cope with the recent loss of his parents.

Ty gets a job with an armored truck service to help pay-off overdue bills left over from his parents’ deaths. Ty, Mike (Dillon), his father’s best friend, and Baines (Fishburne), the old dog of the crew, act as the truck’s three-man team.

With nothing but despair and the threat of losing his brother to child services, Ty vows to make ends meet and keep the family together. A perfect opportunity arises when Mike and Baines attempt to convince Ty to steal the $42 million they are transporting.

As the plot progresses, it’s obvious to the audience that Ty is struggling between his own ethical platform and the promise of living free of debt.

There were a few bright spots in this sloppily-made film. Short’s performance may have put him on the fast track to a big Hollywood career. He made the plot believable and convinced the audience to feel the pain and anguish he was going through.

It was a difficult role because he had to convey that he was struggling with the decision, but at the same time he had to do it to keep his family together.

Though he won’t get much recognition for this role or many awards, we will almost definitely be seeing more of him in the future.

The film’s overarching ethical dilemma propelled the movie and helped avoid a complete catastrophe. It made the audience think and ask themselves, “Would I steal the money?” It was a movie of good timing. If they had made this film while the economy was stable, there was no war, and people weren’t worried about debt, then it might have been an even bigger flop.

However, with the current context, the audience could resonate with Ty and felt his pain as he was being pulled apart. On the other hand, the movie’s plot was simple, maybe too simple, only taking place in a of couple sets.

The mind-numbing plot didn’t give the movie any flare, action or suspense.  It was as if Antal took the plot from a picture story made by a second grader in arts and crafts. It wasn’t creative and it colored outside the lines.

Maybe the movie would have been better if the chase scene didn’t consist of Ty running from a thousand-pound truck. The scenario is doubtful at best.

“Armored” never put Ty in a no-win scenario, and presented the audience with easily predictable and manageable conflicts.

With a small sliver of hope always looming, “Armored” never presented the audience with that ultimate conflict.

My advice: wait until the movie is shown on John Carroll’s movie channel and save the $10 cost of a ticket.