ARMSTRONG

PrintE-mail Written by Luke Spafford

Armstrong is a serious film. Unrelentingly so. The only mild sniff of humour comes from the title itself, but why so serious when it struggles to know what it wants to be? It is absolutely sci-fi, but is it a chase movie? Is it a morality tale? Is it yet another limp love letter to the eighties that is currently so en vogue? The answer is all of the above. 

Succinctly put, man with enhanced arm needs to get to a place to blow up a thing set by nasty men who are chasing him (the Harbingers) and enlists the help of an Ambulance driver and the driver’s mate, with endless standing around talking about doing the right thing. This reviewer suggests that playing a dialogue cliché drinking game would be a near suicidal undertaking without a medic on standby.

Both directing and writing, Kerry Carlock and Nicholas Lund-Ulrich hail from backgrounds in MTV shows and Special effects respectively. Unfortunately for the script the former is very much evident and, pleasantly for the effects, the latter shines on screen. For what is clearly a low budget film the effects, in places, are astounding. The eighties feel lingers in the look and sound of the piece – an unending mechanical hum and clank soundtracks most of its running time creating, one would hope, an almighty royalty cheque for one Mr. Cameron.

Orange is the New Black actor Vicky Jeudy works with what she’s given as rookie, Lauren, whereas her world-weary partner, Eddie (Jason Antoon), is the antithesis of subtlety. Oddly, Armstrong himself is sidelined for great chunks of the movie, leaving our two ENTs to chew the cud on terrible upbringings, estranged children, divorce, drug abuse and a dead sibling – just in case you fancied a game of ‘Traumatic Past Top Trumps’.

All of that said there is something about the film that draws you in. There is an attempt at world building that leaves the door falling off its hinges for sequels.

Its fun wondering quite where Armstrong’s gadgets keep coming from and listen out for that Wilhelm scream and the Kylo Ren sound-setting on the Harbingers’ helmets.

Armstrong is perfect Friday-night-after-the-pub fodder. It will have you wondering why you are watching it, why you watched it and then crucially - how you somehow enjoyed it.

ARMSTRONG / CERT: TBC / DIRECTORS & SCREENPLAY: KERRY CARLOCK, NICHOLAS LUND-ULRICH / STARRING: VICKY JEUDY, JASON ANTOON, SHAWN PARSONS / RELEASE DATE: UK RELEASE TBA 



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