Well as they say, “Money is the root of all evil.”
Five ex-Special Forces operatives find themselves on a solemn battleground they don’t want to be in: life after the gun collects dust. For these flag-wearing retired heroes, life is about being suspended from cocaine charges, Saturday morning pep talks, selling condos and occasionally getting their tail whooped at a $10 MMA fight. Out of the five, one still takes his battle scars to the field until he learns that a large sum of money could potentially end these woes. The money belongs to Lorea (Reynaldo Gallegos), a drug lord that has just a piece of South America in a friction and Santiago “Pope” Garcia (Oscar Isaac) is determined to end his reign on the hush-hush, with a self-promise of millions if he and his crew can rob Lorea and leave a speckless trace.
Triple Frontier does not grab in the beginning – at all. A shallow speech to the army and a drug-bust only introduces viewers to an environment we’ve seen dozens and dozens of times. Which is why I can’t fault the film for making Pope trot very quickly to gather the crew: William “Ironhead” Miller (Charlie Hunnam), Tom “Redfly” Davis (Ben Affleck), Francisco “Catfish” Morales (Pedro Pascal) and Ben Miller (Garrett Hedlund). This pacing, however, required a brief visit to the internet to remember what these character’s names were. Was Ben “Ironhead” or was he just…Ben? But this was a minor issue I fixed within two minutes and completely brushed away when I remembered Hedlund’s introduction: boasting his chest, flexing, and huffing like a crossed-eyed slab of muscle. He’s perfect. The amount of chemistry this cast has together was so natural, the table briefing over beer had me curious to see how well these men worked together. Tom and Francisco show brief hesitation with joining the operation, but it doesn’t drag the film at its feet because somehow, it’s established that trust is there and I believe it.
My fingers were pressed against odd places of my face like a Spring 2019 Vogue cover to massage the nerves I experienced when a character would progress the story with questionable decision-making. These characters are smart, but God, are they emotional. Why are they using their outside voices indoors where Lorea and his guards are on the defence? Why couldn’t they afford silencers for their weapons? Because Solid Snake would never, Mr. Pope. But it’s not a collective cluster of stupidity, as Ironhead scolds Redfly’s 15-minute plan to load extra millions. But 15 minutes is all that’s needed to have a mess spoil onto the trail. And the heist film becomes a survival film, and survival turns into a chase. Triple Frontier is rocking many identities here and it might come off as an unbalanced mess carried by its excellent cast. And it’s enough to warrant the film as an entertaining thriller. Affleck subtlety descends into a paranoid man that wants money to solve his problems. And the more they pile on, the more they lose – and the heavier it becomes. Triple Frontier could have been a commentary on anti-war or focused on veterans being washed away unable to deal with the common 9-5 necessities of life. But it’s ultimately the green dollar that sweeps people in and pulls the rug from under their foot when their heads are in the clouds.
Besides a few schlocky green screen moments and use of impressive SyFy CGI, Triple Frontier is worthy of a watch. Thank the crew.