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Review: Triple Frontier

Triple Frontier
9 10

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PLOT: Five embittered ex-soldiers (Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal) reunite to rob a South American drug lord of his vast fortune.

REVIEW: TRIPLE FRONTIER is a project that’s come close to happening over and over throughout the years, with everyone from Kathryn Bigelow, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Channing Tatum, Tom Hardy, Mahershala Ali, Mark Wahlberg and more being attached at some point. Scripted by Mark Boal, it took J.C Chandor and Netflix getting involved to finally get the movie made and sure enough, it’s the type of star-driven, adult-oriented actioner that could have only come from the streamer, while in previous years it would have been a major commercial property. Oh, how times have changed.

In many ways, this feels like a 21st-century take on THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE, only instead of gold prospectors you have ex-soldiers who see an expiry date on their highly-valued skill-sets that are looking to cash-out before its too late. Like that film, it shows how quickly the needle can move on your moral code when unimaginable riches are there for the taking, only for the logistics of the whole thing being the one element you can’t overcome.

It’s a tightly wound action flick done on a grand scale, and comparable to any big-budget studio movie in theaters. As has been happening more and more, the line between what classifies as a movie and what doesn’t is blurry, and it’s hard to watch this and not think you’re watching something that belongs in theaters.

The cast is definitely on-point, and what’s impressive is how much of a true ensemble this feels like, with all five stars sharing equal prominence. Oscar Isaac is marginally the lead if only by virtue of his being the character that sets the caper in motion, but no one is favored over the other. While character exposition is minimal, the by-play between the unit is effective enough that you have a strong handle on who each man is before long - as long as you’re paying attention.

While Netflix movies can often feel over-inflated, TRIPLE FRONTIER is admirably stripped down, running just a hair over two hours, and not bogged down by any sense of excess. J.C. Chandor is known for his preference to trim the fat from his movies, and this benefits from that sensibility.

triple frontier, ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Garrett hedlund, Charlie hunnam, Pedro pascal

It’s his first real action movie and while it opts for realism over bombast, the action, when it hits, is effective. A big chopper crash towards the middle of the film is the stand-out set piece, with the on-location shooting in South America lending the film a really distinctive look. I especially like that the big problem the men have to face is the logistics of carrying $250 million in cash through the jungle, with them constantly forced to re-examine the big question - is the money we have left over worth me risking my life?

For the desperate Redfly, played by Ben Affleck, the answer is a resounding yes, with him kind of the Humphrey Bogart-esque member of the group who’s maybe quicker on the trigger than he has to be if money is on the line. Affleck looks puffy and out of shape here, but it works for the role, as he’s the weathered professional gone to seed. Oscar Isaac is the brains of the group, getting the intel to assemble the plan, while Pedro Pascal is the pilot who knows better but is in deep trouble over an incident with cocaine that’s found him without a license to fly and unlikely to get it back. Finally, Charlie Hunnam is the most reasonable of the group and the one who just want to get in and get out, while the MMA-toiling Garrett Hedlund is the wild-card muscle. All five guys are perfectly cast, with Hedlund and Hunnam being surprising standouts considering who they’re toe-to-toe with.

In another time, TRIPLE FRONTIER would have been a $100 million Jerry Bruckheimer flick, but in this era, it’s a Netflix original. It’s certainly a strong commercial effort for the streamer, and a no brainer to check out, even if this genre isn’t normally your thing. It’s one of the better mainstream movies I’ve seen this year and the kind of programmer I wish studios were still making.

Source: JoBlo.com

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