Stars: Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Teresa Palmer, Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Clifton Collins Jr. | Written by Matt Cook | Directed by John Hillcoat
You can’t fault the line-up that Australian director, John Hillcoat has pulled together for Triple 9. In what appears to be a Breaking Bad/Walking Dead hybrid, Triple 9 stars both Aaron Paul and Norman Reedus who join forces with Chiwetel Ejiofor to take-on a seemingly impossible heist for the Russian mob. The trailer for this action-packed thriller certainly hooks you in, almost promising a 2015 take on Heat.
Triple 9 kicks-off at a frantic pace, with an early death to a significant member of the crew helping to give a sense of urgency to proceedings. Hinging off the familiar ‘one-last-job’ premise, the protagonists appear to be under the spell of mafia boss Kate Winslet, who’s dubious Russian accent raises a wry smile. Having thought their opening heist had done enough to release Ejifor’s child from Winslet’s clutches, they are instead challenged to steal some confidential files from a highly protected government building.
The achilles heel to what appears to be a very simplistic plan is Aaron Paul, typically typecast as Jesse from Breaking Bad; a drug-addict who always manages to make the wrong decisions despite seemingly having good intentions. His fallibility tends to err on the annoying rather than making you want to gun for the character and the inevitable descent into chaos as a result of his actions becomes something of a non-event. The film then tries to build-up a sense of tension leading up to a seemingly foregone conclusion; it becomes difficult to build-up any semblance of empathy with a series of two-dimensional characters. Add to this the introduction of an unconvincing gang of Mexicans who try to de-rail the plot and you’re left just looking forward to Kate Winslet’s Russian accent to provide some light relief from the insipid action scenes.
Triple 9 seems to suffer from trying to do too much and in doing so lacking the polish that could have given birth to an excellent action film. To some extent, the characters suffer from the jam-packed casting, meaning that you never escape the feeling that you’re watching big names as opposed to being enveloped in a storyline. Exacerbated by an unconvincing plot, Triple 9 is probably one to miss.
Triple 9 is released across the UK on Friday February 19th.