A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although Armored is a violent crime film with lots of blood and a fair amount of strong language (including "s--t" and "f--k"), it's almost old-fashioned in its clearly defined take on "good guys" and "bad guys" and ultimately sends the message that crime isn't an easy way out. The main character reluctantly participates in the central heist scheme out of desperation, but when the "simple" job turns into a bloodbath, he decides to do the right thing. Sure, there are plenty of logic loopholes, and it's not exactly a life-changing cinematic experience, but older teens and adults might find it entertaining.
What's the story?
Iraq War veteran Ty (Columbus Short) gets a job working with his godfather, Mike Cochrone (Matt Dillon), at an armored truck company. Ty has money troubles and is about to lose his late parents' house, as well as custody of his younger brother. But then Mike makes him an offer: Mike and four others (Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, Amaury Nolasco, and Skeet Ulrich) are going to rob one of their own trucks and cook up a fake heist to cover their tracks. Ty reluctantly agrees, but when the so-called "simple" job unexpectedly turns into a bloodbath, Ty changes his mind and decides to do the right thing. But will it be at the cost of his life?
Is it any good?
Directed by Nimrod Antal, ARMORED has a pleasingly gritty feel thanks to its use of chilly, metallic urban locations. And at only 88 minutes, it's a very streamlined, no-nonsense genre film; it could almost be called a low-tech "B" movie. It has an economic way of developing its characters so that the situations come about as a result of the characters, rather than the reverse.
As things get going, certain small logic loopholes tend to crop up, and intelligent audience members will find themselves asking questions about some silly occurrences and images. ("Why didn't they just...?") But those who can sit back and roll with the movie's dynamic energy, atmosphere, and pacing may enjoy themselves in spite of these drawbacks.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Ty's initial decision to go along with the robbery plan. Why does he do it? What other options did he have? What would you have done?
Do you think Ty would have gone through with the robbery if everything had stayed according to plan? What messages do his decisions send to viewers?
What's the impact of the movie's violence? Is it increased by the fact that it wasn't supposed to happen? How does Ty's reaction to what goes wrong with the plan affect how you react to the bloody consequences?
- In theaters: December 4, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: March 16, 2010
- Cast: Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Dillon
- Director: Nimrod Antal
- Studio: Screen Gems
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of intense violence, some disturbing images and brief strong language
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