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Triple Frontier

Triple Frontier

A group of ex-special force soldiers decide to rob a drug lord in remote south america. But the plan goes awry and they must decide what they are willing to live with.

I have to be honest, I went into this movie with skepticism knowing that its a Netflix release. As the movie went along it only reaffirmed my doubts in it. Why was this movie not a theatrical release ? I have an answer after watching the movie. Firstly , there is a certain kind of stardom that is very toxic for the actor with that reputation. If you can bring audience to theaters no matter what kind of movie it is, as long as its good is a good stardom to have. But then, there is other kind of stardom which plagues mainly handsome men with black hair and black eyes and strong facial features that is very bad for the actor. These kinds of guys can't play different kinds of roles and they should make different variations of action movies to turn in profits. But the problem is, they start effecting the quality and tone and legacy of a movie they are in. For example, a few good men is first and foremost a court room drama. Rest of the movie is working so good that whenever you see Tom cruise in the movie, as good as his dialogues and scenes are, whenever you see him, you are reminded of a variation of top gun or days of thunder. That in a way takes you out of the movie. But the moment you see jack nicholson in a scene, you are brought back to the best part of the movie. That is very telling. Ben Affleck suffers from this. Sicario also dealt with cartels. One of the reasons why that was so good is because none of the actors in the movie jumped out of the movie or took you out of the movie. But Ben Affleck takes you out of this movie.

The movie starts with a bust and the officer in the drug bust catches wind of a large sum of money stored in a house in south american jungles guarded by drug lord. So, he assembles his former colleagues to rob that money and set for life. The best version of this story has to be either very elemental or very complex. Run of the mill is not ambitious enough but it can be entertaining although this movie after a certain point is neither. I hate to be the guy that craps all over the hard work of the filmmakers but certain parts of this movie are not well thought out.

The problem with this movie is that there is no pay off to all the build up. This movie doesn't have enough bite to it. Once they are in the house where they are supposed to rob, the movie falls off the cliff in its tension building and consequences to actions. Basically they have a 40 minute widow to rob the house and get out with minimal but essential causalities. They should kill the drug lord and rob a certain sum of money. But once in the house the actions escalate and one kill turns to a massacre and certain sum of money turns into robbing as much as possible and then burning the rest to the ground. The problem with this approach is that it feels scripted and not accidental or out of control. In order for this to happen, the atmosphere and circumstances in the house should feel out of control. The movie tries to show them as being greedy and out of control once they see the wealth that they loose track of time and make bad decisions killing more people than needed. But the problem is, script and actors were not able to sell that. Ben Affleck is tasked with acting greedy once they see all the money but he is not that good of an actor to sell that aspect. So it just come off as not being consistent with his character. Because until that point, he is the one who is the most hesitant about robbing and all of a sudden he acts as complete 180 shift.

Another major problem with this movie is that it kinda feels like it has a movie star reject cast. The cast is filled with actors that the studios tried to make happen for quite some time and audience rejected them. Charlie Hunnam or Garet Hudland or Oscar Isaac fall into that category. So you already feel this overwhelming mediocrity in the cast because you have seen all these actors play in supporting roles in other movies and all of a sudden you are supposed to buy these guys as leads ? its a subconscious dilemma the movie leaves you with in the first 20 minutes of the movie. It almost feels like they cast your next door handsome neighbor whom you don't particular care for and ask you to believe that he is an ex-army soldier. The production on the other hand is massive. It looks like they shot in location. The director cleverly avoid cityscapes through out the movie. The whole movie takes place in pretty rural and non-urban places.

The second half of the movie is a poorly made survival tale with characters having no conviction. None of the actors were able to sell me on the absolute desperate nature of their situation or their will to become rich. After crashing helicopter several miles from the coast in a remote farm due to overloading it with extra cash, the characters are forced to move the cash by foot. When their actions lead one of them to die, the rest of them just loose their will so fast , its ridiculous. First they loose some cash in a mudslide. Then they burn some of it to stay warm aka Pablo Escobar style. After one of them dies, they drop most of the money in a deep valley and just fill their carry on bags with cash and carry the body of their dead partner. I do understand the mindset of people like that who are so focused and trained as army soldiers that they have certain carelessness about stuff they didn't earn or stuff that doesn't feel right to them. Men in army have certain level of righteousness built into them. So it makes sense that they don't behave as thugs and thieves that are cunning and calculated. But still its a bummer to see them act with such carelessness considering they are highly trained soldiers.

The ending scene is also ridiculous where all of them give away whatever they bring home to a family trust of their dead partner so it goes to his daughters. By this point it almost feels like the worth of the money is lost in the eyes of the audience. Because it goes from 250 million $ to 5 million $ because of their lack of planning and will power. So all I can think of looking at the money is what it could have been. So the moment they give away whatever is left, I didn't care one bit. That's a very bad note to end the movie on. Moreover this movie once again proves that South American landscapes and jungles are not particularly appealing for theatrical experience. Despite these huge landscapes and mountains and jungles and snow mountains surrounding our characters, the script is too weak to take any advantage of any of this. I started noticing that one of the biggest giveaways of a movie's quality is if its leads are movie-star rejects because that indicates that there is something wrong with the script. All the actual movie stars have passed on the script and since the script demands someone that looks like a movie star they cast movie star rejects.