I read an article recently that said Netflix now has more original content than it does acquired content. I expect that trend to continue, especially given the talent involved in making these movies. Netflix’s newest film, Triple Frontier, ups the ante as it is directed by J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year, All is Lost) and stars Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam, and Garrett Hedlund.
See also: Captain Marvel Review
Unfortunately, that talent mostly goes to waste in this middling action flick that sees our five stars play former special forces soldiers who decide to put their talents to use for themselves rather than their country by attempting to steal millions of dollars from a drug lord in South America. When things go awry, they are forced to choose between that money and getting home alive.
For the most part, I really liked the first half of the movie. It spends just the right amount of time setting up the characters and the mission before jumping into the rest of the plot. I like the way the heist itself is set up. It feels like it is actually being executed by special forces operatives. There’s even a small twist in the middle of it that works well. Really the only thing I didn’t like about the first hour of the movie was an action scene at the beginning that doesn’t really connect to the rest of the movie at all. It felt like it was only in there because they wanted to start the movie off with some explosions.
With that said, the movie starts to really go off the rails in the second hour. After the heist, the movie relies almost purely on action movie cliches and also loses any sense of pace. Frankly, despite the team being faced with what should be intense situations and hard choices, the movie gets boring. I can’t put my finger on whether it was the way it was shot, written, or acted, but I quickly lost interest in the movie. That is where being on Netflix might not be a great thing for a movie like this. While I most likely would not walk out of a movie I paid to see in a theater, it was hard to not turn this one off in favor of something else.
Believe it or not, the star studded cast doesn’t even help carry the movie’s mediocre plot. Oscar Isaac is a standout and shines despite his character being mostly one dimensional. Ben Affleck’s character is the only one that has something resembling an arc, but it seems to be only half written. And even if the writing is poor, Affleck doesn’t help himself by sleepwalking his way through this one. Pascal, Hunnam, and Hedlund are all mostly forgettable, and in fact I had trouble even telling Hunnam and Hedlund apart at times.
In the end, Triple Frontier had the talent to be a lot more than an average action film. However, it never lives up to that potential. If you are just looking for an action movie to watch on a Saturday afternoon, you can do much worse than Triple Frontier. If you are looking for anything deeper than that, you should probably skip it.
Despite all the felonies the characters commit, I’ll only charge Triple Frontier with a Misdemeanor.
Ratings from low to high: Felony, Misdemeanor, 10-4, Positive ROP, Golden Donut)