Armored Blu-ray Review
PictureWell at least Armored looks fairly good on Blu-ray, even if the content is distinctly average. The movie's 1080p High Definition presentation looks pretty solid in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Detail is generally excellent throughout, the film offering up that modern-production feel complete with decent close-ups of faces, and nice interiors, with consistent clarity and only a hint of edge enhancement during some of the darker sequences. The colour scheme is limited by the setting and the intended mood of the production, which offers up plenty of sepia but nothing particularly vibrant to stretch the range. The palette is intentionally dour, the setting restricted to basically one abandoned building, but everything that we do get is rendered well. Blacks are solid, which allow for excellent shadowing and some deep and true night sequences. It is a very good Blu-ray presentation indeed, perhaps shy of spectacular but still probably better than the movie deserves.
SoundOn the aural front things are just as excellent, the lame duck of a heist thriller coming with a DTS-HD Master Audio mix that is arguably the high point of the very movie itself. Dialogue gets decent presentation across the fronts and centre channels, but almost appears to be of secondary importance when compared to the score and effects. On the effects front we get some decent thumps and thunder, with armoured car chases, shotgun shells and pistol bullets careening across your living room, showing off some decent directionality and putting you in the thick of the action. The score is both immersive and oppressive, almost throughout, adding to the tension and the strength of the scenes but also reminding you a little bit that the film doesn't really warrant such a solid and engaging soundtrack. It's a little too good, promising more action, more tension, more depth and more thrills than the film itself actually offers. Still, it sounds fantastic, with some decent bass thrown in to boot, and fans of the movie will undoubtedly love it.
There's a slightly meandering but still vaguely interesting Commentary from the Producer Dan Farah and a couple of the actors: Skeet Ulrich and Milo Ventimiglia. The most interesting aspects of this offering include talk of alternate versions of the script and cut scenes. They explain how they originally showed the true motivations of the robbers, including one of them having a wife dying slowly and requiring expensive medical treatment, and I think these omissions could have really made a difference and made the characters more 2D caricature villains in the final cut. I have to say that the Commentary is one of those where the participants are far too busy watching the movie themselves to actually contribute much, but if you sit through it in its entirety, I'm sure there are a few gems to collect.
First up we get Planning the Heist, a quarter-hour Making-Of Featurette which offers up all the usual promotional material, including a brief summary of the story and all the requisite interview snippets from the cast and crew. There's nothing substantial on offer here, but it's not particularly bad either, coming across as a nice introduction to the later Featurettes to follow. Crash Course focuses on the stunt-work, taking 11 minutes, primarily to look at the armoured truck chase sequence, which is certainly the noisiest offering. Again, it is not particularly involving, but it suffices for this particular film. Armed and Underground is the Production Design Featurette, a mere 7 minutes in length and looking at the dingy, abandoned warehouse setting where the majority of the movie takes place.
VerdictA surprisingly good Blu-ray release for what is a surprisingly bad film, especially when you consider the eclectic ensemble cast involved. It's a shame to see the likes of Morpheus and Leon stoop so low for a paycheque, their efforts wasted in a film that sacrifices initial character development and plot in favour of caricatures and plot-holes in the second-half. A visually and aurally great Blu-ray release, with a couple of nice extras to boot, cannot save this film for the majority of viewers out there who will frankly be disappointed by the lacklustre lead actor and the painting-by-numbers story, but will no doubt please any fans of the movie that there may be. Rent if you have to.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.99
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