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Armored (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 12, 2010 by  



A riveting, pulse-pounding heist film!  If you are looking for a straight-up popcorn action flick on Blu-ray, “Armored” is definitely for you.  But if you are looking for something deeper, especially with the number of talent on this film, you may be disappointed of how the characters are utilized.

© 2009 Screen Gems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Armored

DURATION: 88 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French (Par) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (For Sequences of Intense Violence, Some Disturbing Images and Brief Strong Language)

RELEASE DATE: March 16, 2010

Directed by Nimrod Antal

Written by James V. Simpson

Executive Producer: Russell Hollander, Debra James

Co-Executive Producer: Luis Guerrero, Chris Lemos

Producer: Joshua Donen, Dan Farah, Sam Raimi

Music by John Murphy

Cinematography by Andrzej Sekula

Edited by Armen Minasian

Casting by Lindsey Hayes Kroeger, David Rapaport

Production Design by Jon Gary Steele

Set Decoration by Dena Roth

Costume Design by Maya Lieberman

Starring:

Matt Dillon as Mike Cochrone

Jean Reno as Quinn

Laurence Fishburne as Baines

Amaury Nolasco as Palmer

Fred Ward as Duncan Ashcroft

Milo Ventimiglia as Eckehart

Skeet Ulrich as Dobbs

Columbus Short as Ty Hackett

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.

“Armored” is the latest film to arrive on Blu-ray and DVD from director Nimrod Antal’s (“Vacancy”) and would feature a screenplay by James V. Simpson, cinematography by Andrzej Sekula (“Vacancy”, “American Psycho”, “Hackers”) and music composed by John Murphy (“Miami Vice”, “Sunshine”, “28 Weeks Later”).

The film which came out in theaters in Dec. 2009 had a little controversy as the film was accidentally released by Sony on the Playstation Network for free while the film was in theaters and was estimated to have had thousands of downloads.

But this is one of those heist films that benefits from Blu-ray.  Plenty of action, chase scene, explosions and more!

“Armored” is about a man named Ty Hackett (played by Columbus Short, “Quarantine”, “Whiteout”, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”).  A former marine who is working at an armored truck company but trying to raise his younger brother Jimmy while trying to pay the bills at the house of his deceased parents.

It’s been tough since his parents took a double mortgage and the bills are high.  And his co-worker, Mike Cochrone (played by Matt Dillon, “Crash”, “Wild things”, “Deuces Wild”) knows how bad things are for him and knew how bad things were for his father when he worked for the company.

But Mike offers him the way out of debt, by joining him and a few other veteran co-workers which includes Mike’s brother-in-law Baines (played by Laurence Fishburne, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, “21”, “The Matrix” films), Quinn (played by Jean Reno, “Leon”, “Ronin”, “The Pink Panther” films), Palmer (played by Amaury Nolasco, “Prison Break”, “Max Payne”, “Transformers”) and Dobbs (played by Skeet Ulrich, “Jericho”, “Miracles”, “Scream”) by stealing the money that they are to deliver to a bank.  A total of $42 million.

Ty doesn’t want to be part of the heist but with bills mounting and the county wanting to see improvement with his troubled young brother, he needs money and thus decides to join the group as long as no one gets hurt.

All things looks like they are going great for the group as they managed to steal the money but as they try to bury it inside a tunnel in a broken down warehouse.  What they don’t know is that a homeless man is watching them.  Immediately, the group catches the homeless man but because he saw their identities, Baines and Mike shoots him down.  Violating their agreement, Ty tries to escape but Mike manages to chase him down and pin him inside one of the armored cars. Ty manages to sound off the siren form the armored car before his co-workers disable it.

Ty uses the security locks to lock himself with the money and hope help comes but his co-workers who fear that the may be caught due to their plan being ruined are now in desperation mode and Mike comes up with an idea, to kill Ty and steal the money but in order to do that, they must get the armored car open.  So, the crew works to remove the hinges from the vehicle in order to get the back door open.

Meanwhile, unknown to the group, an officer named Eckehart (played by Milo Ventimiglia, “Heroes”, “Rocky Balboa”) heard the earlier siren and is now heading to the warehouse area to check out the disturbance.

Will Ty be rescued or will be become a victim?

VIDEO:

“Armored” is featured in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1).  Day scenes feature a good number of colors but its the closeups that show up quite well on Blu-ray.  The detail of the skin pores and the sweat and grime on some of the armored security is captured well on Blu-ray but as most of the earlier scenes are outdoors and are colorful, the bulk of the film takes place in a run down warehouse.  You can see the detail of the dilapidated warehouse with minimal lining.  Blacks are nice and deep and I don’t recall seeing any artifacts or any sign of DNR (digital noise reduction) while watching this film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Armored” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and French 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Although the film is dialogue driven via the center channel, there is a good amount of front and surround and rear surround channel usage of the special effects.

From the sounds of the shoes of the security, crunching steel during the armored car chase, the sound of the clanging as the men try to open the doors on the vehicle, the sound of the gun/rifle shots.  A lot of the action sequences can be heard all around you and for the most part, lossless audio is very good with this film.  Although not a 100% immersive action-based film, “Armored” sports a pretty solid lossless soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Armored” comes with the following special features in High Definition with English Stereo and optional English subtitles:

  • Audio Commentary by Producer Dan Farah, Skeet Ulrich and Milo Ventimiglia – Usually, you would hear from the director and the producer and talents.  But this time you get a producer comment and commentary from Skeet Ulrich and Milo Ventimiglia who weren’t the main characters.  But Farah talks about scenes that were cut and the guys talk about certain parts of the film and their characters and situations dealing with their characters and a lot of personal conversations.
  • Crash Course: Stunts – (11:30) Lance Gilbert (Stunt coordinator) talks about the stunts in the film especially the car chase.
  • Planning the Heist: Making Of – (15:19) Director Nimrod Antal and the cast talk about working with each other and working on “Armored”.
  • Armed and Underground: Production Design – (6:47) Jon Gary Steel (Production Designer) talks about the creation of the warehouse and having to build the set and preparing it for major action scenes.
  • movieIQ – With BD-Live, viewers can access the latest information on the cast, crew, music and more via real-time while watching the film.

EXTRAS:

“Armored” comes with a digital copy of the film.

Right off the bat, you can tell that “Armored” is a heist film but where a heist-that-goes-bad.The good news is that the film is quite riveting in terms of a group turning on their co-worker and just watching how things started to snowball.

“Armored” features quite a good number of talents but if there is one problem with the film, we don’t know why they are even involved with the heist.  Obviously, Ty has a reason to be part of it.  The others, we don’t know why they want to do it and during the commentary, producer Dan Farah talks about scenes that were cut from the film film.  Personally, it would have been good to know of each character’s situation.

So, character execution of the co-workers and their development took a backseat and it surprises me since this film has pretty major talent such as Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburn and several others.  There were some plot issues and questionable dialogue but if anything, I just wished the talent were used much better than they were and at least get to know their motive of wanting to do something this risky, especially if they are married or have a family.

As for the Blu-ray release, you do get a digital copy of the film and the PQ and AQ are pretty good.  It’s just that I wish there were more special features or outtakes.  I was surprised to find out that the commentary featured the producer and Skeet Ulrich with Milo Ventimiglia but I suppose the director and the main talent were unavailable for the audio commentary.

Overall, I did enjoy the film for its action sequences and wondering how the character of Ty is going to survive the entire ordeal.  A riveting, action-packed, pulse-pounding heist film! But for the most part, it’s more of a B-level action film that has some plot problems, lack of character development (aside from the main character Ty) but in the end, “Armored” was a film that I enjoyed more than I was expecting it to be.

Looking for a good popcorn, action flick, definitely give “Armored” a try!

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