Film

Triple 9 (John Hillcoat, 2016)

What can I say, I love movies where a heist goes bad and the robbers have to shoot their way out in a totally improbable way.

It probably has one of the best casts I’ve seen in any US feature film for a long time, despite where ultimately, as many of the bad reviews have indicated, the performances are mostly wasted and overall it’s a weak story camouflaged with alot of action scenes and doublecrosses that reminded me of ‘old-school cop’ thriller genre done so well by Walter Hill and David Ayers. A killer soundtrack also makes this film seem a lot cooler than it really is.

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In fact, this doesn’t feel like a Hillcoat film at all, his films are generally about mythology, metaphors, and use historic settings to bring other worlds alive, as with Lawless (2012) and The Road (2009). This feels more like an Ayers film, who’s last film Suicide Squad seemed like huge mistep in the wrong direction. I almost feel that with Training Day (2001), Harsh Times (2005), Dark Blue (2002) and End of Watch (2012), Ayers practically reinvented or atleast rebooted a genre that had gone stagnant with cliche, and which paled in comparision to great cop/crime TV shows like NYPD Blue, Sopranoes, Shield and The Wire.

Triple 9 is not bad, it’s just not good, but it could be because the cast is so incredible, you can’t quite believe how uninteresting their scenes are. Casey Affleck (Assassination of Jesse James, Out of the Furnace) , beefed up with a mullet, kindof resembles a bored, less insane loner version of Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon (1987). He seems to chew gum and fold his massive arms during the scenes when he’s not chasing people.

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He’s a kindof a rogue cop Al Pacino to the obsessive Robert De Niro alterego bank robber, here played with equal toughguy poise by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years as a Slave), who I never would’ve expected to be have been in this movie. Perhaps this is the main problem with the film, it’s trying to compress what could’ve been a very interesting film, the likes of Heat (1995) and Traffic (2000), into a disturbing, tightly plotted thriller like Sicario (2015) or End of Watch (2012) and it just doesn’t work. The characters have no backstories, no arch, and we care little when they die.

 

Film and TV Actors famous for playing supporting roles Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Anthony Mackie (Captain America), Clifton Collins, Jr. (Traffic, Capote), Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead), Michael K. Williams (The Wire), Gal Gadot (Batman vs Superman) make small, forgettable appearances with Woody Harrelson (Rampart, Natural Born Killers) and Kate Winslet (Holy Smoke, Titanic) doing their best to make their villianous characters seem interesting.

The twist ending itself, somewhat reminded me of Touch of Evil (1958), I can’t quite work out what it means, or if I missed something from an earlier scene.

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