Dirty cops, the Russian mob, hispanic gang bangers, lots of gun fights, explosions, smoke bombs, abandoned buildings and more are part of what made “Triple 9” an entertaining action film. The pacing on this film was a little slow which was a surprise considering the high volume of action present within. The cast was stacked with talent. The mood and tone of the film were appropriate for the concepts being told. So why did I walk out of the theater thinking, “Eh, not terrible but not great either.” Let’s explore…
Let’s start with probably the largest culprit that lessened my post viewing excitement. The pacing of this film was slow. It wasn’t across the board slow either. It would have moments of high energy, edge of the seat, popcorn shoveling, eyes wide open action sequences. Next, the breaks slam down and we’re dealing with personal/family tensions that develop the characters and deepen our understanding of the motivating factors of the key players in the film. This happens at what feels like a much slower pace.
Next up, we have cliche’s. I want to be clear that cliche’s aren’t necessarily a bad thing. If the film is designed to utilize the cliche’ characters in a manner that acknowledges the fact that’s ok. Comedies do a great job over exaggerating the cliche’ new cop on the force who thinks he knows it all. He’s a no nonsense, skull busting tough guy. This film seemed to celebrate the cliche’ characters and for me personally I didn’t particularly care for it. This film led me to believe it’s a dramatic look at what the lives of these characters are and the choices their life leads them to in a non comedic way. I rest all the blame for this on the director, who provides the actors instructions on how to portray their characters. John Hillcoat also directed the film “Lawless” which had pacing problems in my opinion. I enjoyed that movie too but I wasn’t celebrating it.
The casting of this film managed to hire several talented actors. Normally, when I post the names I add their IMDB link so you can explore their previous works. As you explore you might find a new film and that might deepen your appreciation for the particular actor, or you might hate it. Either way, you’re watching more movies. Since this film has so many talented actors I won’t be listing them or their IMDB’s but you can click on the link above for the film and peruse there. The casting was the highlight of this film for me. I love seeing all the actors on screen and I was curious to see how well Gal Gadot would hold her own on screen with these other talents. She wasn’t in much of the film but her role was pivotal and she performed her character well while seeming believable. I’m curious to see her as Wonder Woman in “Batman VS Superman” but we’ll explore that film later this month after I see it. Other than her, I knew exactly what I’d get from the rest of the actors and I wasn’t disappointed in their performances. I could’ve used less cop cliche’s but that’s not their fault. They were just doing the job the director told them, and they did that well.
“Triple 9” is in theaters now. I give this film one full magazine of ammunition and a smoke bomb but that’s only to make your escape out of the theater and safely arrive at Redbox to rent it. If you enjoy heist films with lots of action and some entertaining plot twists this is the film for you. I enjoyed it but I wasn’t walking out of the theater talking to people about it. If you go see it, or have seen it, comment below and share your thoughts.