RELEASE DATE: February 26, 2016
GENRE: Thriller, Drama
MPAA RATING: R
DISTRIBUTOR: Open Road Films
CAST: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins, Jr., Norman Reedus, Teresa Palmer, Michael K. Williams, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet
DIRECTOR: John Hillcoat
WRITER: Matt Cook
PRODUCERS: Keith Redmon, Bard Dorros, Marc Butan, Anthony Katagas, Christopher Woodrow, John Hillcoat
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Steve Golin, Paul Green, Tom Ortenberg, Peter Lawson, Molly Connors, Maria Cestone, Sarah E. Johnson, Kimberly Fox, Isabel Dos Santos
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In TRIPLE 9, a crew of dirty cops is blackmailed by the Russian mob to execute a virtually impossible heist. The only way to pull it off is to manufacture a 999, police code for “officer down”. Their plan is turned upside down when the unsuspecting rookie they set up to die foils the attack, triggering a breakneck, action-packed finale filled with double-crosses, greed and revenge.
This week, I was drawn into the promise of Triple 9 by its cast. Everyone is in it. The film has an Academy Award winner and a few nominees in it. It has a cast member from TV’s The Walking Dead. Even Wonder Woman is in it. Take a look. Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Clifton Collins, Jr., Michael K. Williams, Teresa Palmer, and Gal Gadot are all in this movie. How could it go wrong?
It wasn’t so much that the film went wrong, it was that it was entirely middle of the road. It gave me that “meh” feel to it. Blame the cast. With a cast as impressive as the one I just listed, I expected to be wowed. I wasn’t so much wowed as I was perplexed.
Blame the script. The story almost seemed incomplete. The film spends a great deal of time setting-up the individual characters, but the audience wasn’t given enough information about how all of the players ended-up in the conundrum central to the story. Plus, the set-up of the characters took too long. Triple 9 is a heist movie. It took too long to get to the big heist. I felt that each big-name actor needed to have a certain amount of dialogue. It felt forced. There is only so much room at the top of a marquee. I wanted more about the central story that I was having trouble following.
Blame the timing. The movie ran long. Most of the scenes take place at night. There are some scenes take place in darkened bars. Other settings included abandoned (and dark) buildings. At just under a two-hour run time, it is too long to be in the dark. So, I guess, I am also blaming the setting.
That’s a lot of blame, especially for a movie that I’m not calling a bad film. I just expected more. Triple 9 is super average. I enjoy most of the cast in other films. I was looking forward to this film. The gifted cast deserved a better movie. I think Triple 9 is more worthwhile as rental than an in theater experience. But, don’t take my word for it. You can see Triple 9 for yourself playing in theaters now.