Triple 9 Blu-ray Review
I’m not well versed in the crooked cop genre, but I’ve watched THE DEPARTED and TRAINING DAY and I know a good one when I see one. TRIPLE 9 isn’t a good one, but it’s certainly not a bad one. John Hillcoat is a smart enough director to create tension when there shouldn’t be. He’s also good at creating anxiety in an inherently stupid situation. On those merits alone, TRIPLE 9 is actually worth watching if you’re in desperate need of an action flick fix.
TRIPE 9 begins with a handful of dirty cops, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, robbing a bank. They get away with a safety deposit box, which seems odd to risk their careers and lives over. But the reason behind it is a Russian mobster’s wife played by Kate Winslet. The reasoning behind her grip on these four is a bit weak, but the reason she’s utilizing them is interesting. She’s after a big prize that’s nearly unattainable. It’s stowed away in an armed to the teeth government building.
So how do you eliminate the police presence at a government building? They decide the best way to do is to initiate a ‘Triple 9’, a police call that goes out signifying that an office has been shot. Left with no decisions, except death, one of the seedy cops nominates his new partner played by Casey Affleck. It sounds convoluted, and it is, but the double crosses and plot twists are entertaining. It’s Hillcoat’s direction that keeps everything in line, without ever becoming too over the top.
Hillcoat works with a relatively unknown writer’s script and really milks the most out of it. Helping Hillcoat’s direction is a solid list of B-actors. Ejiofor leads the group of cops while the rest play bad apples waiting to show how rotten they truly are. Affleck doesn’t improve anything, but he’s not a hindrance either. If anything, Woody Harrelson’s arrival, as the uncle and father figure to Affleck’s character, provides some more veteran acting that keeps everything neatly in place. The lack of character depth is made up for with some solid acting moments.
Hillcoat’s true talent is highlighted in the many action sequences. There’s nothing grand, but they’re all tight, tense, and thrilling. Hillcoat isn’t afraid of getting gritty. There’s a great sequence where the cops are raiding a projects in Atlanta and so much of it is nerve-wracking because TRIPLE 9 establishes that anyone and everyone can die. That feeling alone makes every moment on screen one where the story can jolt you away from the status quo.
While good in that regard, TRIPLE 9 can be very humdrum. When the guns go silent and the tempers aren’t flaring, TRIPLE 9 has a lot of dry dialogue filled with exposition about why someone is broken or how someone used to be good cop. Sometimes the exposition is blunt, without needing to be.
TRIPLE 9 is an entertaining movie that’s a decent two-hour time fill. If you’re looking for anything deep or any greater understanding of its characters, you might just want to watch TRAINING DAY instead.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) Hillcoat’s directorial skills are on display as he captures the seedy essence of Atlanta and the heat coming off the summer pavement.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The tense sequences are matched by a wonderful soundtrack that helps build instead of overwhelm.
Deleted Scenes (7:54): Four deleted scenes altogether. All four offer vague insights into a handful of characters. If you believe the story was the strong point, you may find this
Under the Gun (2:43): A short feature talking with the cast and crew about the various characters and storyline. Too short to get anything worthwhile out of the interview snippets.
An Authentic World (2:41): This feature focuses on director John Hillcoat. A lot of praise is heaped on the director, his vision, and his previous works.