Tough Guy Cops – Triple 9 (2016)

Generic.  So this is about a band of crooked cops.  They know how the system works, and they have the appropriate amount of gear, resources, and know-how to successfully pull off a heist.  They may be in over their heads when they try to pull off a 999 (police code for officer down) to divert attention so as to pull off their biggest score yet on the other side of town.  On paper, this doesn’t actually seem like all that bad of an idea, and being that I was in the mood for an action movie, I decided to take the time.  You got a lot of talented people acting in this, and a number of them have been nominated for Oscars. There’s even prestigious John Hillcoat in the director’s seat.  All the pieces are there, but what they ended up making is no different than every other shady cop movie ever made.

1A lot of testosterone, as you can imagine.

Triple 9 starts off by thrusting you right into the action without really offering much of an explanation, and I think that the opening is the best part of the movie.  It puts you right in the middle of this heist, and being that you’re not sure if these are good guys or bad guys, you don’t know how this is going to play out.  It’s easily the most interesting part of the movie, and it is all downhill from there.  There’s something that feels so familiar about this, and you’ve seen this movie before.  It’s Street Kings, it’s Armored, and it’s any number of action films that you happen to watch 20 minutes of when making your way through the movie channels on cable at 10 PM.  It’s a shame, too, because the casting to this is everything that you would want.  I always like seeing Anthony Mackie and Clifton Collins Jr. get work, and there’s this weird, almost random scene where Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire) plays a transgender prostitute that doesn’t really play into the story in any way at all.  I will watch Chiwetel Ejiofor star in anything, and Kate Winslet is once again playing an unrecognizable Eastern European.

2After Steve Jobs, I guess this is just what she does now.

The action in here is well shot, and there are scenes about this that work, but the writing is just not there.  It keeps coming back to the plan itself; it’s so harebrained to think that every single cop in a giant city like Atlanta would respond to a report of a single officer being down, you can never at any point buy into it from a logic standpoint.  It falls apart as soon as it gets to the messy middle, and after a strong start, the remainder is a disappointment.  Triple 9 a flimsy premise at best that never rises above being mediocre.

Triple 9 (2016) **

– Critic for Hire

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