Triple 9 Movie Review

Cops and robbers is a fun game to play as a kid and usually a fun genre movie to watch as an adult. TRIPLE 9 is no HEAT, but it is a moderately entertaining crime thriller.

TRIPLE 9 represents police code 999 meaning “Officer Down.”  This is obviously a very serious and urgent call among law enforcement who loyally protect and serve the community and one another. This code is a vital part in a plan to pull off what might otherwise be a near impossible heist.

Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie in Triple 9

Criminals, bank heists, good cops, bad cops, and Russian mobsters are all the right ingredients for a capable shoot ‘em up action thriller.  But without character development, it’s hard to be invested.  TRIPLE 9 gets the outline right and director John Hellcoat (THE ROAD, LAWLESS) understands the bleak tone.  The screenplay by Matt Cook isn’t afraid to dispose of characters in this ensemble piece and the guts of the material is intriguing.  However, it lacks a certain heart for any of the action to have any lasting resonance.  Killing characters means nothing when they mean nothing to the audience. I always like to watch dominoes fall but if they aren’t set up in an interesting formation, I will soon forget about it.

Kate Winslet in Triple 9

It was wise to use an all-star cast, which almost fools the audience into caring about characters we know nothing about. TRIPLE 9 opens strong with a thrilling heist from a legitimately planned caper, reminiscent of the ex-presidents in POINT BREAK. Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 YEARS A SLAVE), Anthony Mackie (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) and Clifton Collins Jr. (PACIFIC RIM) make up the criminal crew taking orders from an over-the-top Russian super villain played by Kate Winslet (STEVE JOBS). Bleached blonde hair in a bright red dress, everything about her character lacks subtlety. Outside of Winslet, the rest of the cast play it straight and almost make up for the lack of depth given to the characters.  Woody Harrelson (True Detective) plays a veteran detective hot on the case, while Casey Affleck (AIN’T THEM BODY SAINTS) plays a new police transfer in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Norman Reedus in Triple 9

Despite the unnecessary exposition of relating all the characters in contrived ways, TRIPLE 9 manages to stage some riveting action scenes.  Whether it be a heist getaway or a police chase, the movement through this dark world of good guys and bad guys is exciting. I just wish I cared more about the results. While TRIPLE 9 might be kind of dumb, it is also kind of fun. It may not be the most memorable cop and robbers film, but criminals and corrupt cops working together to pull off a big heist is nearly always passable entertainment for fans of the genre.


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