Dirty cops, the Russian Mob, a detailed heist that involves killing a cop to create a diversion. Through in an all-star cast and you should have the recipe for an incredible and intense film. One that could truly be remembered as one of the greats. Triple 9 has all these ingredients, but are they cooked properly? Well, let’s talk about that.
Triple 9 is directed by John Hillard, the guy that did Lawless, and was written by Matt Cook, I have no idea what else he wrote. It has one the most talented casts I have ever seen assembled, Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiodor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins Jr, Norman Reedus, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, and Kate Freaking Winslet. If that is not a list line up, I do not know what is.
The film follows a crew of corrupt cops and criminals who are being sent on heist missions by the Russian Mob, led by Irina Vlaslov (Winslet) whose husband and head of the mob is locked up abroad. Irina uses her sisters (Gadot) ex-husband Michael (Ejiofor) to steal what she needs to free her husband. When a final mission is deemed undoable, the crew decided the only way to pull it off is to cause a distraction by killing a cop (Affleck) which will send all officers on a triple 9 (roll credits) leaving them free to run their final heist. Unfortunately when your crew is full of criminals, no twist is left unturned.
Again that sounds like a great pitch right? Unfortunately it is not a great film. In fact, it is pretty boring. And unnecessarily slow! Don’t get me wrong, when the action gets going, it is pretty fun to watch, but there is so much unneeded wasted screen time in between. Most of these characters are also pretty poorly written. Leaving the audience with no one they really want to root for, seeing is how they are mostly all scumbags. Sure they have their redeemable qualities here and there, and reasons for doing what they do. But in the long run, you just don’t like them.
That’s not to say that the cast did not do incredibly well. If there is one major positive about this film it is that the cast is all on point with one minor exception. Woody Harrelson, who is great in his own right, plays the character a little too, Woody like. If that makes any sense. He is just a bit over the top and it something he has been doing a lot. I don’t know if this is a director’s decision or his own, but come on Woody, just be great, don’t be cartoony.
But again, everyone else is spot on with the roles they are given. Ejiofor keeps you enthralled all film long and Casey Affleck has such a unique ability to disappear into roles. Something his brother has never really been able to do. You always know you are watching Ben Affleck, but with Casey you always see the character. Anthony Mackie is a top tier talent, and incredible in here. I love watching him onscreen. Kate Winslet is Kate; I didn’t even realize it was her until I sat down to write this. That’s how good she is.
Speaking of this cast, let’s talk about one thing, real quick, I’m getting a little side tracked. But this film literally has Falcon, Baron Mordo, Scud, Tallahassee, Batman’s little brother, and Wonder Woman all in the same film. That is a little crazy. But speaking of Wonder Woman, walking into this I was really hoping that this would be the performance that sold me on Gadot as Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, it was not. Not that she was bad; she was good at being hot and delivering 3 lines. But nothing of substance.
All in all Triple 9 was kind of a letdown. It is obviously not the worst movie I have ever seen, it had its ups. But unfortunately not as high up as I had anticipated it. Maybe wait to catch this one on FX, or USA or something like that. Not something you need to shell out the cash for.
An action cop drama with little action, and a boring story. Great cast, fun performances, but ultimately a letdown. Especially as a follow up to the directors previous film, Lawless. Action scenes are fun, and well done, but everything else from dialog, to story, to character development falls flat. I’m giving it a Jeebus score of 2.4.
The Jeebus Score explained
The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Casting. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.