Movie Review: ‘Armstrong’

Review by Bradley Smith

A recovering drug addict on her first night of her new career working the graveyard shift as an EMT is in for the ride of her life. An explosion shortly after the start of her shift leads this rookie and her veteran partner into the middle of a high tech underground war zone with one side intent on bringing about doomsday. Will they save the world or even survive the night?
Some movies like to start near the end of the story and then cut back to an earlier point. Armstrong takes a similar tactic by starting with a view quick glimpses of the action ahead with each successive clip being slightly earlier in the evening until they get to the start of Lauren’s (Orange is the New Black’s Vicky Jeudy) first graveyard EMT shift. It’s not really enough to get a sense of what is ahead, but it works to build interest and get the movie off to a roaring start before they slow down to introduce the characters and set up the plot.

Lauren is partnered with Eddie, a crotchety veteran of the job who occasionally shows compassion. Their shift starts quietly, with Lauren a little jittery and nervous and Eddie trying to mess with her a bit. Not long into their shift, an exploration at a nearby warehouse prompts them to action. But before they reach the warehouse, they encounter a wounded drifter in need of their services, assuming his high-tech arm doesn’t kill them first. Before the drifter, Armstrong, can recover, they are attacked by a group that we later learn is a doomsday cult, The Fifth Sun, intent on causing catastrophic earthquakes under Los Angeles, for a starters.

Armstrong stops these first attackers, but he needs Lauren and Eddie’s help to take down the Fifth Sun. They reluctantly join him and head off on a little superhero adventure. There is plenty of action to be found, plus some sci-fi and a little heart, as evidenced when Lauren almost relapses and her and her partner have a chat about the past, present, and future.

For a (likely) low budget, indie project, this was a pretty good film. Will it surprise you or make you think in new ways? Probably not. But you will get some intrigue worth debating and enough action to keep you interested. The lead, Juedy, is fun to watch and root for as her character starts to develop some courage and fight. Of course she’s not going to just walk away once Armstrong decides the risks are too great. Give it a shot, there just aren’t that many Cinematic superheroes these days.

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