About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Under Armored Citizen

Armored, seen Saturday January 2, 2010 at the Regal E-Walk Aud. #7, was the Kraft mac&cheese of cinema, exactly what you'd expect and smooth going down and perfectly pleasant.

Five years ago I'm sure I'd have seen this several weeks ago much closer to when it opened, because it has a solid cast including Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne. The holidays were just quiet enough or I was just willing enough to pretend the holidays were quiet enough that I found one of the few theatres the film's still playing at and caught it before it heads off to video.

And I'm glad enough that I did.

This is a heist/caper movie in the tradition of any number of movies about a heist gone bad. There's this armored car company, see, and a decorated war veteran just finishing up probation at said armored car company. Now, his parents died, and he and his younger brother fend for themselves in a house that's about to get foreclosed. And then Matt Dillon is playing another driver at the armored car company with this plan for a fake heist that will net $42M, and our good guy really doesn't want to go along but then this lady from child services comes by because younger brother isn't attending school. Lose his younger brother to foster care, or rob armored car for $42M? Well, who wouldn't choose the heist.

Most anyone here can write the rest of the movie. The heist goes awry, in this case because there's some homeless person in what's supposed to be an empty building, which looks like the same building where they did the car racing in Death Race a few years ago. And the Hot Tempered One kills him. And then it just keeps getting worse and worse. But our good guy saves the day.

There may not be an original bone in the film's body, but the cast is taking it seriously enough but not so seriously, so they sell their parts well enough. And the movie moves briskly, unlike let's say Avatar so you don't have time to look at your watch.

Definitely a Rent It. If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll like.

Law Abiding Citizen, which I saw Thanksgiving weekend at the Parkade in Manchester, is very much the same kind of thing. Again, a movie I once would have seen quickly that in this instance ended up being seen at the second run theatre several weeks into the run. Same director as The Italian Job and other stuff; Armored was a first-timer. Jamie Foxx is an upgrade over Laurence Fishburne, Gerard Butler and Colm Meaney over Matt Dillon and Milo Ventimiglia. The budget is bigger. The bad guy's nefarious plan is much much much grander. The preposterousness is much more preposterous.

Bigger begetting bigger, this movie was destined for bigger things pretty much before a single frame was shot. It achieved bigger things, though the reviews weren't necessarily any much better.

And at the end of the day, for all of its foibles and sillinesses, it delivered the goods. Well-acted, all of the contrivances taken very very seriously by the well-assembled cast, perfectly pleasant way to kill a little time. The movie held up nicely at the box office, with relatively small week-over-week drops and a total box office bigger than its first week might have suggested, and I can't argue with any of that. There's room in the world for good plain genre fun that doesn't need to be taken seriously.

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