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Armstrong (2017) Review

Armstrong is a 2017 action film about a rookie EMT and her partner who pick up a wounded superhero and are pulled into his mission to save Los Angeles from a sinister organization.

A number of recent movies have taken the standard superhero film and tried to give it a twist, usually by stripping away all the landmarks we’ve come to expect, such as bodysuits and flowing capes. M. Night Shyamalan‘s Unbreakable is probably the best example, a story that masked the superhero premise for most of the film. There have been notable others that have attempted as well to reshape expectations and now comes Kerry Carlock and Nicholas Lund-Ulrich‘s Armstrong, a quasi-superhero action movie that gives the whole thing another flip, keeping pace with many big budget counterparts while doing a few things special all its own.

On her first night on duty as a Los Angeles EMT, Lauren (Vicky Jeudy) is teamed up with veteran medic Eddie (Jason Antoon), a hard-case with a heart. She’s got a checkered past, an ex-addict saddled with guilt for the death of her brother a few years before. She’s taken the job as a personal redemption and while she questions her ability to stay straight and effective, she ends up having that tested right out of the gate. In the dead of night, responding to an explosion at a factory, Eddie nearly drives over a man in the street, who turns out to be a little more than what he seems. Wearing a massive, cybernetic-looking arm, he is in bad shape but when a paramilitary like figure with an odd futuristic rifle shows up and threatens to kill them all, “Armstrong,” as he’s called, shows off some pretty impressive powers and explains to Eddie and Lauren that everything that they think is real, isn’t. Now she’s got to accept the truth and take her place beside a hero and save the world.

For an action film, Armstrong has a pretty dense story, one involving a secret doomsday organization called The Fifth Sun that has emerged from the shadows to set off a series of nuclear devices around the city meant to trigger a seismic chain of events that will ultimately cause a cataclysmic earthquake. Our hero is a former soldier in their ranks, equipped with new technology who is now on a mission to stop them, but facing increasing resistance. It’s heady stuff and yes, is as silly as it sounds however the film’s fanatical commitment to the premise actually packs it with surprising fun. For sci-fi fans, this is what it’s all about.

First time directors Carlock and Lund-Ulrich make a solid debut. Lund-Ulrich has some 50 visual effects credits to his name, with many well-known titles on the list, and puts that experience to good use here. Mixing practical and digital, the film is certainly limited by its budget yet convinces throughout with plenty of good looking visuals. As good as all that is though, it’s Jeudy who keeps Armstrong clicking along best, the Orange is the New Black star giving Lauren a great deal of depth. For what the film is, she grounds it nicely, giving the role more humanity than most any blockbuster superhero movie yet made.

Armstrong lacks the polish of a big budget film. That’s to be expected, and while it has some lulls and a few weak scripted moments, this is nonetheless a movie more concerned with its story than its action. That’s a good thing. One part sci-fi, one part superhero, and two parts heart, it’s an ambitious and entertaining debut.

Armstrong will be available on VOD and DVD (Walmart only) from October 3.

Armstrong (2017) Review

Movie description: Armstrong is a 2017 action film about a rookie EMT and her partner who pick up a wounded superhero and are pulled into his mission to save Los Angeles from a sinister organization.

Director(s): Kerry Carlock, Nicholas Lund-Ulrich

Actor(s): Vicky Jeudy, Shawn Parsons, Jason Antoon

Genre: Sci-fi

  • Our Score
User Rating 3.71 (7 votes)
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