US, 2009, 89 minutes, Colour.
Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, Amaury Nolasco, Fred Ward, Milo Ventimiglia, Skeet Ulrich, Columbus Short, Andre Kinney.
Directed by Nimrod Antal.
If you are going to make a B-style thriller about an armoured truck robbery that has a bit more intelligence in it than just action and shoot-outs, then this is one good way to do it. It may not satisfy the blood and guts audience, but it should be of interest to those who want a thriller to have some sense in it.
And, it has a very good cast of characters actors, led by Matt Dillon as the mastermind and, ultimately, the villain. Others in the crew include Laurence Fishburne as the impetuous one, Amaury Nolasco (from TVs Prison Break) as the born-again one, Jean Reno (called Quinn despite his French accent), Skeet Ulrich as the reluctant one. Columbus Short (reminding us in look and performance of a young Don Cheadle) is the honourable one, an Iraq veteran who is taking care of his brother and is being hard pressed by the banks to repossess his house.
The plot is basically straightforward, a plan to rob the armoured truck by the security guards. As expected, something will go wrong. However, the things that go wrong are unpredictable and the film builds up quite some suspense as to how the thieves could get away with it. Each of the members is given some character development which makes the drama more interesting and the interactions more tense.
Direction is by Nimrod Antal, who spent some time in Hungary where his family came from to LA, and made the award-winning Kontrol. Back in the US, he made the terror film, Vacancy.
1.Armoured car robbery stories and their continued popularity? The crime, the perfect robbery, failure and consequences?
2.The outskirts of the city, the sense of realism? American, urban? The banks? The headquarters for the security company? The industrial area, the abandoned warehouse?
3.The mood, the editing and pace, the musical score, especially accompanying the crime?
4.The title and expectations, security guards, vans, robberies? The cases explained, the rehearsal?
5.The headquarters, briefings, the vans, storage? Duncan Ashcroft and his past experience, walking stick, his briefings, instructions? His coordination of the vehicles? The range of staff, surveillance? The search for extra jobs? The locker room, the men, the pool table? The audience immersed in this world?
6.Tyler Hackett as the focus, waking up, efficiency, the contrast with Jimmy, the younger brother, looking after him? The story, the parents and their death, the double mortgage for the house, the welfare interview, wanting to take Jimmy away, Jimmy and his art, not going to school? Jimmy and the owl painting in the house? Ty, his background, his serving in Iraq, the Silver Star? His having Mike as his godfather, the bonds with him? The setting for the drama, the emotional clashes?
7.The detail of the squad: Baines, his love for guns, drinking on the job? Palmer and his religiosity? Dobbs, quiet, the family man? Quinn, the French accent, tough? There interactions on the job? The joking at meetings? The prank for Ty, pretending they were being robbed, the elaborate set-up and its effect? The fact that it was a rehearsal for what they would do?
8.Ty and his war service, modest, the star? A man of integrity? Concerned for Jimmy? Yet the mortgages, visiting the bank that was after his house? The hot dog, walking with Mike, the proposal, his initial reaction? His thinking it over, coming late? Mike’s promises that there would be no violence?
9.The introduction of the police, of Eckehart and the hot dog? His talk about his father? Being on the job?
10.The plan, the collecting of the money, going through the procedures? Going into the warehouse, unloading? The time limits? Things going wrong with the vagrant watching them, the group chasing him, Baines shooting, Mike killing him?
11.Ty's reaction, stopping his work, going into the van, locking himself in? His choice? The group and their strategy, getting rid of the bolts and this taking time? Eckehart arriving, his being shot? Ty rescuing him, his surviving in the van? Ty and his trying to persuade Dobbs to help, Dobbs and his getting the piece for Ty? Pasting the dollars on the windows, getting out from the floor of the van, going to the roof, connecting with the police? Talking with Palmer who followed him, Palmer and his being upset, falling to his death? Quinn and his going to the house, taking Jimmy, bringing Jimmy to the van, Ty surrendering? The group going to the box with the money, Ty having set it up with explosives? Ty and his tactics, the vehicle, Mike crashing the car, running with Mike in pursuit, the leap, Mike’s car going into the hole?
12.Baines and his violence?
13.Palmer and his religiosity, killing Dobbs?
14.Dobbs, ordinary, helping Ty, his death?
15.Quinn, ambitious, getting Jimmy?
16.Eckehart, on duty, being shot, Ty treating him, hanging on, surviving?
17.The hospital, the police, Jimmy being safe? Ashcroft talking about a reward?