Triple 9 looks familiar. Good cops. Dirty cops. Robbers. Crime bosses. Innocence, brutality and a merciless urge to be the last one standing. All of it. Hundreds of crime films have covered this territory, with good and not so great results. Director John Hillcoat knew this so he acquired a truly unique and top flight cast.
Casey Affleck as the young and noble cop who partners up with Anthony Mackie’s maybe shady officer to police the streets. Bank robbing crew led by Chiwetel Ejiofor’s murderous yet not evil boss. Aaron Paul(Breaking Bad) and Norman Reedus(Walking Dead) are a part of that crew. Hey, there’s Kate Winslet as a Russian crime boss rocking some Goodfellas hair that would make Lorraine Bracco sweat. Woody Harrelson is a police sergeant who drinks too much and happens to sniff some of the evidence. Clifton Collins Jr. is a detective that can’t be trusted. Gal Gadot as the pretty faced temptation.
Throw all these parts into a stew pot, stir them, add some seasoning(great action choreography), a fast pace and what do you have? An entertaining and diverting action film.
Triple 9 doesn’t try to be anything other than what the poster tells you. Entertainment. It may get you thinking about black/white crime, the length cops will go to in order to make a dollar or how dire the world looks. That’s something you already knew going into the theater. It takes the familiar and makes it look better than what it really is. The sum of the parts outweighs any individual piece here in value.
A lesser cast, video game/commercial resume laden director and less exotic features would put this movie on the direct to DVD route chart along with the latest Steven Seagal or Wesley Snipes delivery. The cast and their buy in with the material along with Hillcoat’s dedication to not deliver over the top Malick like monologues keeps the film light and easy to digest. A perfect February treat. This is a film David Ayer writes and directs in his sleep.
When I left the theater, I wasn’t mad about where my money went. I was satisfied. I didn’t have to convince everyone on my way home they should see it but I got what I felt the film deserved to give me. A good time.
Avoid the awful poster tag line, the familiar setup and you may enjoy it too.