This contains all the right ingredients for an instant crime classic – but isn’t baked quite right.
Australian director John Hillcoat is the man responsible for 2009’s post-apocalyptic drama The Road and 2012’s Prohibition-era set Lawless – and comes up just short again with present-day heist thriller Triple 9.
It sees Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) playing Michael Atwood, the head of a team of criminals consisting mostly of corrupt cops and ex-soldiers, who carry out heists on behalf of Russian-Israeli mobsters.
Russell’s team includes his brother and ex-cop Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul), detective Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins, Jr.) and gang-unit officer Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie).
At the start of the movie, Michael’s gang has just pulled off a dramatic bank heist for Russian mobster Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet), who refuses to pay them until they agree to one more job – and threatens to kill them if they refuse.
To pull off this heist in the short time given to them, the gang need a major diversion, and form the idea of executing a Triple 9 – which is police code for ‘officer down’. This would allow Michael’s team time to pull off their crime on the opposite side of town while most of the city’s cops are distracted. Their chosen victim is Marcus’s new partner, Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) – who is coincidentally the nephew of the cop (Woody Harrelson) investigating the earlier heist – but things don’t exactly go to plan.
Triple 9 contains some spectacular sequences, but not really anything that we haven’t seen before. Crime classics such as Goodfellas, Heat, The Departed and a few episodes of The Shield clearly gave influence.
The all-star cast make this a watchable flick – it just feels like something that should have been made for the small screen instead of the big.
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Genre: Action & Drama
Cast: Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Clifton Collins Jr, Gal Gadot& Igor Komar
Running Time: 1hr 56mins
Directed by: John Hillcoat