Sometimes a trailer comes out of nowhere, and you think ‘how did I not know this film was coming out?’ That was the case when the Triple 9 trailer dropped, and impressed pretty much everyone who saw it. The ensemble cast is filled with fan favourite actors, and it seemed to be an action / thriller coming out at a time of year when there’s nothing really for fans of that genre. This film in fact looked so good that a small part of me thought ‘this could be a very early Oscar contender’, much like Ex Machina was last year.
Triple 9 is the story of a gang of criminals, who have some connections inside the police force. In order to pull off the biggest heist of their lives, they try to plan a triple 9 (that’s police code for officer down) on the opposite side of town, to draw as many police officers away from them as possible. That premise sounds simple, but a lot of the characters also have individual subplots, most of which are thoroughly uninteresting.
Unfortunately this film is nowhere near as good as it could, or should have been. It opens well, with a tense heist, followed by decent car chase, which has a pretty unique look due to a smoke bomb going off and filling one of the vehicles with red smoke, but it’s straight downhill from there. The story is long and meandering, with lots of plot threads becoming muddled, and even more of them proving to have nothing memorable about them.
As you might expect, the acting on display here is excellent. Casey Affleck continues to prove he’s one of the most underrated actors working today, and Anthony Mackie is effortlessly charismatic, but none of that can make up for a dire lack of intrigue.
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