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John Hillcoat
Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ojiofor, Kate Winslet, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul
Writing Credits:
Matt Cook

A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$6,109,085 on 2,205 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 5/31/2016

• “Under the Gun” Featurette
• Four Deleted Scenes
• “An Authentic World” Featurette
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Triple 9 [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 23, 2016)

Some movies boast titles that tell us all we need to know about them. After all, what could Pride and Prejudice and Zombies be other than Pride and Prejudice and zombies?

On the other hand, some titles let us know next to nothing about what we can expect, and 2016’s Triple 9 falls into that category. The Blu-ray’s case promises an “explosive, action-packed thriller”, but no one would easily guess that from the ambiguous moniker.

Vague title aside, Triple 9 showed enough promise for me to give it a look. Set in Atlanta, a team organized by Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ojiofor), Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul) and Russell Welch (Norman Reedus) robs a downtown bank, with the main purpose to steal a particular safe deposit box.

The kicker? Their squad includes Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie) and Franco Rodriguez (Clifton Collins Jr.), two crooked Atlanta police detectives. Marcus gets paired with new transfer Chris Allen (Casey Affleck), the nephew of Detective Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson), the officer who happens to be in charge of the robbery investigation.

The robbery connects to the Russian Mafia, and as led by Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet), that organization pushes Michael to lead another heist. This leads to more complications, partly because the next crime will rely on a code 999 – police talk for “officer down”.

Woof – that’s a lot of plot/character elements for one crime thriller, isn’t it? And I didn’t even touch on all the interpersonal areas, as Triple 9 provides additional intrigue in other domains.

Some films can handle that many bits and pieces, but Triple 9 suffers from a feeling that it’s overstuffed. The movie shoves in too many beats and it can’t do all – or any, really – of them justice.

Triple 9 does start well, however. While not entirely original, the opening robbery presents a stylish, exciting launch to the movie that seems to bode well for its subsequent prospects.

It doesn’t, though, and the story quickly loses focus – again, largely because Triple 9 needs to feed so many mouths. A true ensemble, the movie never settles on a lead. At one point it flirts with Michael as the “main character”, and then it teases us with Chris in that role. Heck, I even thought the flick might concentrate on Jeffrey – he seems like as good a candidate as any to take the fore.

That fails to occur, and the movie dollops out attention to all three of those participants as well as the others. In theory, this can work – and it has succeeded in other films – but in practice here, the ensemble structure means that we never get a good feel for any of the characters. They all remain insufficiently fleshed out and vague.

In turn, that prevents us from attachment to/investment in the narrative – not that the story becomes especially compelling anyway. The second heist exists as a true MacGuffin, an event that means little but motivates all the action – and that would be fine if the preceding action went anywhere.

It doesn’t. Triple 9 leads us through machinations after machinations without much clear forward thrust and tends to spin its wheels. Occasional moments of intrigue result but these never push ahead in the desired manner.

Triple 9 gains some credence due to its excellent cast. All give their roles more weight that they should enjoy. The script develops the parts in a lackluster manner, but the actors manage to bring enough gravity to the movie that their characters seem more three-dimensional than they are.

I don’t think Triple 9 ever turns into a bad movie, as it remains reasonably watchable through its end. However, after a strong opening, it never gets better than “reasonably watchable”. The movie comes with potential that it never realizes.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus D+

Triple 9 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Across the board, the transfer looked good, if not great.

Sharpness was fine. A little softness occurred in some wide shots, but those didn’t become a concern. Overall definition seemed solid. I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, and the presentation lacked apparent edge haloes or other artifacts. I also saw no print flaws, as the movie always seemed clean.

In terms of colors, Triple 9 reflected Hollywood’s modern fascination with orange and teal. As tedious as that has become, the colors looked fine within the design parameters – and we did get a smattering of reds/purples to broaden horizons on occasion. In addition, blacks were dark and tight, while low-light shots were decent; some could be a bit dense, but they weren’t bad. This was a generally positive presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it added breadth to the experience. The movie didn’t deliver a rock-em-sock-em soundscape, but it managed to open up well, especially when it dealt with the occasional crime scenes; those showed a good encapsulation of the action.

A few louder sequences – usually connected to action beats like car chases – also made dynamic use of the spectrum. Scenes without this sort of material managed to create a nice sense of environment and contributed an immersive feel to the story.

Audio quality always pleased. Speech remained natural and concise, with no edginess or other flaws. Music sounded full and dynamic, while effects came across as accurate and clear. All of this suited the film and earned a solid “B+”.

Only a smattering of extras fill out the set. We get two featurettes: “Under the Gun (2:43) and “An Authentic World” (2:41). In these, we hear from director John Hillcoat and actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Clifton Collins Jr., Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, and Anthony Mackie. The clips cover story/characters as well as cast and performances, Hillcoat’s impact on the production and research. Both are promotional and they lack much informational value.

Four Deleted Scenes takes up a total of seven minutes, 54 seconds. We find “Michael’s First Kill” (2:05), “Jeffrey Quits” (1:16), “Jeffrey Finds Out About Leah” (1:09) and “Michael’s Death” (3:24). As their titles imply, these clips focus on the Jeffrey and Michael characters. They add a little exposition, but only “Death” offers any real impact.

The disc opens with ads for London Has Fallen, Hardcore Henry, The Boy, Eye in the Sky and 50 Shades of Black. Previews adds clips for Spotlight, Rosewater, Nightcrawler, End of Watch, The Loft, The Gunman, Dope and Rock the Kasbah. No trailer for Triple 9 appears here.

With a strong cast, I hoped Triple 9 would bring us a dynamic action thriller. Alas, though it starts well, the movie becomes bogged down in too many clichés to turn into anything above average. The Blu-ray offers good picture and audio but lacks notable bonus materials. Triple 9 keeps us with us but lacks the energy to rise to a higher level.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.375 Stars Number of Votes: 8
3 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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