Armored appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the transfer looked great.
At all times, the film boasted excellent clarity. Only the slightest smidgen of softness ever appeared, as 99 percent of the flick provided crisp, precise images. I noticed no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge enhancement never manifested itself. In addition, the film failed to display any print defects.
Like most action thrillers of this sort, Armored went with a chilly palette. It avoided the usual cold blues but stayed with subdued tans and earth tones. Within the film’s production design, the hues fared well. Blacks were dark and full, while shadows demonstrated nice clarity and smoothness. I felt quite pleased with this presentation.
Though not as good, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Armored worked fine. Various vehicular elements offered the most active use of the spectrum. This was especially true during a truck chase, and a few other sequences used the various channels in a satisfying way.
Much of the film remained fairly stationary, though, so it didn’t get the usual bevy of big set pieces typical of action flicks. Nonetheless, the spectrum created a nice sense of place, and different segments added to the immersive nature of the track. It doesn’t sound like anything special, but a long scene in which a character hammers on a truck worked surprisingly well; as we went to different spots in the environment, the pounding moved to match the shifts, and it did so well.
Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music showed good range and vivacity, while effects worked nicely. Those elements came across as accurate and full, with solid low-end response and positive definition. Due to an absence of showy sequences, the track wasn’t bold enough for a high grade, but it seemed worthy of a “B”.
Armored comes with a handful of extras. These launch with an audio commentary from producer Dan Farah and actors Skeet Ulrich and Milo Ventimiglia. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of cast, characters and performances, sets and locations, story/script changes/deletions, and a few other production notes.
At no point does this commentary threaten to become engaging. It throws out a smattering of decent filmmaking facts, but these appear awfully sporadically and don’t tell us a ton about the production. Add to that lots of dead air and this ends up as a snoozer of a commentary.
Three featurettes follow. Planning the Heist fills 15 minutes, 19 seconds and features Farah, Ulrich, Ventimiglia, director Nimrod Antal, screenwriter James V. Simpson and actors Columbus Short, Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Amaury Nolasco, and Jean Reno. “Planning” looks at the story’s origins, development, and research, how Antal and other crew members came onto the flick, cast, characters and performances.
A basic “making of” show, “Planning” never digs very deeply. Mostly it just explains story points and characters, so it doesn’t offer much real information about the shoot. Don’t expect to learn much here.
Armed and Underground: Production Design goes for six minutes, 47 seconds as it offers remarks from Antal, Dillon, Ulrich, Reno, Nolasco, Short, Ventimiglia, Fishburne and production designer Jon Gary Steele. Like its predecessor, “Armed” has a smattering of decent notes, but it takes a self-congratulatory approach to its subject. While we learn a little about the sets, we usually just hear how great they are. I’d prefer more details and less praise.
Lastly, Crash Course: Stunts runs 11 minutes, 30 seconds and provides notes from Antal, Nolasco, Short, Dillon, and stunt coordinator Lance Gilbert. They talk about the design and execution of the film’s action sequences. This never becomes a super-detailed piece, but it covers its subject matter in a satisfying manner. It certainly works a lot better than the two earlier featurettes.
A few ads open the disc. We get clips for 2012 and The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. These also appear under Previews along with clips for Bounty Hunter, Takers, Soul Power, It Might Get Loud, Extraordinary Measures, Breaking Bad, The Da Vinci Code, and Casino Royale. No trailer for Armored shows up here.
Finally, the package includes a Digital Copy of Armored. With this, you can transfer the flick to a computer or portable viewing device. If that works for you, have a ball.
Although I didn’t expect Armored to reinvent any action wheels, I hoped it’d be a lively caper flick. Unfortunately, it lacks creativity and seems too “by the numbers” to become anything exciting and memorable. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals as well as good audio and some generally forgettable supplements. I can’t say that I dislike Armored, but I can’t find much positive to say about it.