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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Movie Review- Triple 9

Chiwetel Ejiofor punishes a Grocery Outlet customer in, Triple 9

Intro

When it comes to heist movies, Michael Mann's Heat from 1995 has got to be at the top of my list. It has great character depth, awesome action, and intriguing dialogue that keeps you invested. The bank heist scene alone is one of the greatest action sequences ever filmed; The tension, the music, the masterful coordination of it all. So many pieces had to fall so properly into place for it to work. Each important character seemed to get just the right amount of time for them to seem relevant to the story. We cared when certain cops & robbers got killed, and we certainly cheered when one of the film's assholes got their comeuppance. It has been copied plenty of times but never matched.

Triple 9

You can add Triple 9 to the list of Heat wannabes. It also can be credited with trying to be like Training Day and a handful of other films as well. Is it good enough to stand up on its own merit? Just barely. Triple 9 has some really good action scenes, but its large amount of characters dilutes the mix. Should this movie be as long as Heat's three hour run time for more detail? No. At just under two hours, it oddly seems to go on for a little longer than it should. It does, however, feel like a bunch of scenes were cut down or omitted, though. The story gets spread thin from the constant back & forth between the heroes (cops), the criminals (not cops), and the undecideds (bad cops). Despite those problems, every scene of action has a level of detail to it that's admirable. There's a genuine level of unease that director John Hillcoat (The Road, Lawless) captures like a pro. What's also captured, is the depravity of it all.
Scarcely a single character is worthy of forgiveness or empathy. The villains are dirty, the cops are dirty, and the streets of Atlanta are most definitely filthy. When all you're surrounded by is muck and grime, it's kind of hard to care about any one or thing. Casey Affleck (Out of the Furnace) is this film's only shining light. As the whiteboy newbie to the department, he could have been the naive pussy that Ethan Hawke was in Training Day, but instead, he doesn't take shit and gives it back with equal measure. I would've liked to have connected more with his character, yet his only moment to bond with us is mostly by having a quiet scene with his wife (bottomless, in his shirt) giving him a motivational pep talk. His boss/Uncle played by Woody Harrelson (Zombieland), is an interesting man. He's a cop, a substance abuser, and a quick-witted sumbitch that had me craving his next scene. The heist crew of Chiwetel Ejiofor (Serenity), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead), and Clifton Collins Jr. (Star Trek 2009), have a relationship that is never fully explained and seems to almost force itself on us as believable that these guys would honestly work together. Collins especially doesn't fit right. He's a good actor, but I couldn't buy how corrupt and evil his role was. We're also supposed to feel sympathy for Ejiofor, yet he has zero problems with killing innocent police officers. Just because his babymommasister (one word) played by Kate Winslet (Titanic), is bullying him and his crew to perform their illegal operations, doesn't mean that they don't deserve it. No one is redeemable. I found myself rooting for Woody to come up and just start blasting everyone away. Not that he did, but it would have been nice.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Triple 9

The Good- The red dye pack bank heist, chasing the cholo, and Woody blazing with Sweet Pea (Michael K. Williams, The Wire).
The Bad- It's hard to believe that those were Jewish Gangsters. I always picture them as the Woody Allen (Antz) type with the frustration of a fudged up macchiato order being the limit of their anger. The Star of David and long curled sidelocks do not blend well with machine guns. I almost laughed. Is that racist?
The Ugly- There was a sign that said, "Zombies Ahead", (Filmed in Atlanta. The Walking Dead. Norman "Daryl Dixon" Reedus. Do I have to spell it out for you?) and it wasn't in a scene with Reedus? Oh yeah, he was long gone before that scene ever happened. Guess he's going to be on the show for a little while longer.

Final Thoughts

The all-around performances from everybody and some tense action scenes makes Triple 9 worth seeing especially if you're into the genre. Just don't expect to give a shit afterwards. What happened to that guy? Who gives a shit. What will happen with their family? Yawn. Will that guy go to prison if he wakes up from that coma? Snore. This is a drive-in style of film. But if you go, be sure not to look over at those guys parked next to you. Was that racist too?
Rating- 5.5 out of 10

Triple 9 (2016)

R | | Crime, Thriller | 26 February 2016 USA 

Director: John Hillcoat               

Writer: Matt Cook               

Stars: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie  

 

 


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