Making the Grades
There are only a handful of plots that most movies seem to be based on. And Armored is clearly a Lord of the Flies storyline where civilized beings quickly degenerate into a gang of lawless, heartless criminals. By the end of the film, it seems that everyone has blood on his hands, either literally or figuratively.
It all begins when Ty Hackett (Columbus Short) is awarded his badge as a transport officer for a security company that moves money in armored cars. Ty is down on his luck. Within the past year, he has returned from military service in the Middle East, lost both of his parents, become the legal guardian of his wayward teen brother (Andre Kinney) and now faces losing his house unless he can come up with some significant cash.
Luckily for Ty, his coworkers have taken a special interest in his troubles, especially Mike (Matt Dillon). One night over hot dogs at a street vendor’s joint, Mike lets Ty in on a plan he has contrived to fake a hijacking and steal millions of dollars from their own truck. He invites Ty to help him pull off the robbery along with four other employees: Baines (Laurence Fishburne), Quinn (Jean Reno) Dobbs (Skeet Ulrich) and Palmer (Amaury Nolasco). Although Ty is initially repulsed by the idea, he has to reconsider when he goes home and finds a Child Welfare agent (Lorna Raver) at his kitchen table, threatening to remove his brother from his care.
Feeling pushed into a corner, the decorated war vet reluctantly agrees to go along with the heist provided that no one gets hurt—predictable, famous last words. Within moments of the crime commencing, an innocent homeless man (Nick Jameson) is lying face down in his own blood, shot in the back by one of the trigger-happy guards.
Once the flimsily-formed plan hits this snag, the group dynamics begin to unravel quickly. Coming to his senses, Ty tries to call off the heist. But when others turn on him, he is forced to take cover in one of the armored trucks with the remaining money. Immediately, the rest of them try to break in—a silly attempt considering the whole purpose of armored trucks is to keep people out with reinforced steel doors, bullet-proof glass and heavy duty internal locks. As the pressure soars among the thieves, so does the body count. Individuals are unceremoniously gunned down, stabbed, engulfed in flames or driven to commit suicide.
After a while all the bloody, gratuitous violence seems as pointless as these men’s attempt to retrieve Ty from the truck. In more lucid moments (or with a better script), these criminals might have considered calling it quits and escaping with the money they had. Unfortunately, they prefer instead to futilely pick away at the hinges while holding the entire audience hostage.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Armored.
How are war vets portrayed in this film? How might Ty’s experience in the Middle East impact his attitude toward the homeless man?
Does Ty’s financial situation justify his involvement in this crime? What might drive people to participate in illegal activities?