Armored doesn’t look like your typical anti-war film from Hollywood’s dream machine. The story of security guards stealing the loot they’re assigned to protect plays out far away from any Middle Eastern battlefield.
But you don’t have to look too closely to see an Iraq War slam or two mixed with the generic on-screen mayhem.
The new film, which landed in sixth place at the box office over the weekend, follows an Iraq War veteran who can’t raise enough funds to pay his mortgage. So he does what anyone would do in his position — swipe the money he’s assigned to guard along with his unsavory comrades.
Ty (Columbus Short) just got back from serving in the Iraq War, returning safe and sound and with a Silver Star in hand for his heroism. He finds work as a security guard in charge of armored transports, but the death of his parents has left him drowning in debt. And if he can’t scratch up enough money to pay off his bills, he could lose custody of his little brother.
The kid is a handful, skipping classes repeatedly and tagging the family kitchen with spray paint swiped from his school.
Ty’s fellow guards represent his new family, albeit a dysfunctional one which plays cruel practical jokes that would get its members booted from some fraternities. And, like any family, they want to help their own.
So they invite Ty in on a plan to steal $42 million they’re supposed to protect. The guards will blame the theft on fictitious robbers, and they’ll walk away with millions.
“No one will get hurt, right?” Ty asks Mike (Matt Dillon), his closest friend on the guard unit. Not a chance, Mike reassures him.
The Keystone Kops could pull off a caper better than these clods. Ty is left scrambling to shield himself from the shards of a plan blown to bits.
Armored focuses mainly on the heist, but the initial scenes let screenwriter James V. Simpson dabble in some expected conversations regarding war.
“You should be proud of what you did over there,” Mike tells Ty, to which he replies, “I’m not. A lot of innocent people died.”
And it’s hardly a shock to see former soldiers struggling financially upon their return.
Director Nimrod Antal (who previously gave us the effective Vacancy and is in charge of the forthcoming Predators) can’t make much out of Simpson’s screenplay, replete with such gems as “the more things change, the more things stay the same.”