This little piggy…
Heist flicks are the shit! There’s no other way to put it. Fully enrolled in the art of corruption, heart-pounding cat-and-mouse chases, and dense display of alpha male chest-pounding, these are some of the most entertaining pieces to take in, especially ones that have fantastic casts to make the experience that much better. To name a few: RESERVOIR DOGS (’92), THE TOWN (’10), and my personal favorite of all… HEAT (’95)! All these flicks carry that “it-factor” that draws you in as it embarks on one of the most dangerous of criminal acts known to mankind.
Joining the ranks of this enticing genre is TRIPLE 9. If we’ve seen the whole good-guy-gone-bad thing once, we’ve seen it a thousand times. But it is what it is. In TRIPLE 9, a crew of dirty cops (Anthony Mackie, Clifton Collins, Jr., Aaron Paul) and ex-Special Forces members (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus) are blackmailed by the Russian mob to execute an impossible heist and the only way to pull it off is manufacturing a 999 – police code for “officer down.” Their plan is torn apart when the unsuspecting rookie (Casey Affleck) they set up to die foils the attack, triggering a finale tangled with double-crosses, greed and revenge.
The fun part about this piece is its explosively fun, entertainingly loud, and viciously intriguing intro. Running for about fifteen to twenty minutes, the film doesn’t hold back on what it’s portraying, who’s involved, and why they’re doing it. Although it takes time to develop some sense about the uncontrollable chaos unfolding before your eyes, its grainy display and menacing soundtrack helps guide.
The downfall? Its script! One can do away with the so-so narrative due to its fantastic cast, but for reasons I can’t put my finger on, none of the characters seemed relatable and/or oozed any empathy from my part. Perhaps that’s the objective, however, it did take a toll on my connection with them as a whole, even though one of them finds himself severely troubled as his own family’s tangled just as deep within the web of deceit. And then there’s Kate Winslet. A gorgeous, talented actress, but as a Russian mob boss? No. It didn’t work. At all! I’ve seen Kate do way better stuff. (Bit of a miscast if you ask me. But who am I?)
Does the movie suffer? Somewhat. Nowhere near as powerful, or intellectually engaging as those mentioned earlier, but TRIPLE 9 allows itself to be taken in and to a degree respected. It isn’t THAT bad! The overall scope presents a different kind of heist flick. One that portrays everyone as an antagonist, therefore, making shades of grey more complex than we think.
Grade: C+ / Genre: Drama, Action/Adventure / Rated: R / Run Time: 1:55
Starring; Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Clifton, Collins, Jr., Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Casey Affleck
Directed by: John Hillcoat