Just mere life is not victory, just mere death is not defeat.

Search The Knowledge

Triple Frontier - A Review

After posting a story on my IG page I had a huge amount of people DM me asking me what I thought about the realism. Had a few ask for a short review so here goes.  I may start reviewing these types of films more often as they seem to have become more consistently better than they have been in the past, but still need a good bit of improvement.  This is purely based on my personal opinion and will contain spoilers.

First thing first, I want to see Oscar Isaac in more of these types of roles.  He gives the main character role a very good "run for it's money" in terms of ruggedness and overall grit.  His character is "Pope" which is very similarly named to his Star Wars character "Poe" but either way, if he played this type of character in Star Wars it would have been vastly more enjoyable.

The movie starts off somewhere in South American, likely to be Brazil, with Pope getting into some action and making contact with his "source" who he is obviously sleeping with.  But not before getting to a firefight with some narco type dudes to spice things.  You can immediately tell that Pope is someone who has a moral line that he clearly crosses when it involves getting laid, but not when it involves killing drug cartel narco dudes.  What his source tells him is what starts the whole story moving.

Pope finds out that the "main boss" type guy is the one who has all this money, he knows this because his source told him so, as she's the one who delivers the money.  So he decides that he wants a piece of the action, I mean money, and starts a plan moving to get rich quick.  Pope, does not seem like a good guy, you also don't know what agency he works for.  There are references made to "The Agency" which would mean the CIA, but they never actually explain any of it.  Later on they talk about him working for the DOD or MIL in general, and it doesn't really add up.  I don't know if the guys who put this story line together just threw known key words against a wall or what, but its extremely ambiguous.

The story moves on to Pope finding guys that he worked with before.  What that means? Your guess is as good as mine, as they never really, finitely, explain it either.  Enter Charlie Hunnam as "Ironhead" and he's doing talks to keep people in the service while wearing a Glock "Gen5" t-shirt.  So he's supposed to portray the typical high speed dude that quit the MIL and went into the firearms industry as a spokesman/marketing type dude.  He's pretty to the point and does not mince his words.

After that, they move on to Ben Affleck as "Redfly" also referred to as a captain of some sort that got a "raw deal" also very ambiguous.  The thing that is certain that he's a complete and utter loser since he's been out.  He's selling condo's, divorced, not allowed in his ex's house and drives a shitty truck.  I'd say that Affleck's performance here is very subpar and that is redeemed later on in the movie.   His character is adamant about not wanting "live fire" but for $17k he'll go on a RECCE, sure sure, very unbelievable.

Moving onto the other characters, Gerret Hedlund who is Ironhead's brother, Ben - no callsign for him, and apparently enjoys fighting MMA and doing other crazy shit (so the exact opposite of Ironhead) and Pedro Pascal who is "Catfish", a former pilot who has a cocaine problem he's working through.  Pascal is very under rated as the grimy good guy, he plays this role expertly and I'd like to see him in more roles like this.

They all get together and decide that they will go on a RECCE, under the completely and utterly ambiguous guise of MIL contractors but non-contractors who are employed and sanctioned by the GOV but not because they are working for a shell company.  Makes perfect nonsense and no one should even remotely buy it.  You think 5 random dudes with MIL backgrounds (one of whom is active in some OGA) can just jump on a plane to South America and no flags come up?  Yep, completely believable.

Up to this point you are made to believe that these five guys are the most skilled "operator" types that have ever graced the US MIL with their service, that they are owed something in some capacity and that they have absolutely no issue being perfectly professional in their action.

Fast forward to them being in some super remote area of Brazil (that still has great highways) and they are doing RECCE on this bad guy "Lorea" your average narco type bad guy boss dude, silk shirts, chrome pistols, over top security and guards, money delivers, and a great goatee.

So they take a look at what they are working with, then decide, after very few beers and very small amount of convincing for their seemingly impenetrable moral character, that they will rob this Lorea guy for all the money he's got.

They get together in this connex box where they decide how they are going to do.  Affleck's character gives a great monologue of various considerations, pretty damn easily if you ask me, he went from "no live fire" to lets steal a lot of money.  Clearly he's only after one thing.  The connex box they are in has firearms everywhere, did you know they just leave those sitting around random ports for people to just show up to?  I do now.

Lorea's family goes to church and the team goes in, super operatorish, in the rain, all kitted up.

Most have M4's with Eotech's, one guy has an Aimpoint of some kind, one looks like an ACOG, dude above said screw that high end shit and went with an underfolder, because reasons and math.  They go in and shoot one dude in the leg, tie the rest of them up and, once they realize they can't find Lorea and cannot find any money that they need to search some more.  The money is in the walls, by the way, the "house is the safe."  Then the fun starts.

Affleck's character instantly changes, he goes from team leader dude with the plan to just one more hit crack head fiend, yeah it's a lot of money, yeah he totally melted down like a POS.  Pope is still on mission, he wants to find this dude Lorea and smoke him.  They are behind a hard exfil time wall and they miss it because Affleck's character is a greedy bitch.  They end up pouring lighter fluid all over the house and find this Lorea guy, giving him the good news.  After that they realize since they missed their hard window they need to kill a dozen guards who just got back in order to make their exit.  Now the fun part starts, they go around and systematically kill each one of these guards.  Catfish even goes and executes one or two of the guards they tied up.  They take all this money and put it in two vehicles driving away from the location.

They end up on an empty field and some dude Ironhead knows from somewhere which is never explained, shows up and they give him $3mil for a heavy soviet era helicopter which resembles an MI-17, with Russian writing on it.  They fill a big basket with money bags and set out to drop off Pope's source and her brother in Peru with $3m walking money.  Affleck's character wanted to kill her, but they didn't, sort of shows you where his head is at.

Now the really awesome part begins.  They can't make it over this mountain to the sea to a boat waiting for them.  So they end up stalling out their helicopter and free falling in a field somewhere near the mountains.  Once they land, Affleck shows that he can easily speak Spanish without issue, but that he can also shoot random people ala Han Solo.  So far his character is basically the worst possible type of former action guy that can be had.  Talked a yuge game only to be devolve into this total POS lacking ethics.  His team tries to check him but he's completely oblivious.

Fast forward they are leaving the village with some mules they stole, I mean bought, from the town elder after paying him off for the dead they left as well.  They start their multi-day trek through various environments until they start losing mules and money, and until they hit the mountain and can no longer use the mules.  They end up burning money to stay warm as they wouldn't be able to hall it all with them.  Burning money, at night, on top of a mountain.  A fire, in the dark, on top of a mountain where there usually no fire or light or anything ever.  Very high speed of them, so much tactitioning.

They end having to make their way down the mountain towards the body of water where this boat is waiting for them and they get attacked.  This is the redeeming moment for Affleck's character.  You know what he does in order to completely redeem himself? He fucking dies.  Yep, gets shot in the fucking head by some kid from the village in revenge for Affleck's character shooting his dad.  Best part of the whole movie, at least it was for me.

The entire team has a complete change of heart, well yeah one of them left his brains on the rocks, and decided that their best course of action is to leave the money there in a cavern, only take whatever they can carry and bring Redfly's body home, you know "for his daughter."  They end up doing that and get into a shootout with whatever equivalent to the local militia is looking for them and the money.  Pope has a come to Jesus moment where he stops trying to kill people and they all end up heading to the water, getting saved by Ben who had a little speed boat and making a clean getaway with Affleck's body.  They end up in some South American island, signing documents that Affleck's family gets all the money they brought back, a measly 5.xx million dollars.  They all hug it out and Ironhead gives Pope GPS coordinates to where the money is located.  Pope has a glimmer of "woohoo" in his eyes and then the credits roll.

Now here are somethings that are totally missed in the movie - Ben starts to sing some kind of Ranger battalion song when he moving money around.  But that's the only possible info we get of where they all served together.  That would still not explain why Catfish was there, was he a 160th guy?  No explanation, cool no problem.

Pope is supposed to work for "the agency" or something of that nature, he's completely unprepared for everything.  No sat comms, no GPS, nothing that could be used to help them in the completely expected moment their plan goes to hell.  This would be part of planning and they totally dropped the ball.  He couldn't have an air asset come pick them up in case of emergency? No QRF,  just in case, it was pretty clear in the beginning of the movie that the local policia was good to go for shooting narco's dead, but all of a sudden they cannot be trusted for anything at all?

The characters go through the super weird transition from good guys, to money hungry douchebags, to really bad guys who murder random people, back to good guys who don't need any money in their lives all because one of them got killed.  That just doesn't makes sense.  All of that trouble for what purpose? Just to sign it off and leave 99% of it in the snow?  Only to ambiguously touch on Pope possibly getting that money back.  Speaking of which, was Ironhead the only who could plot out of the lot of them?  You'd think they'd have a contingency plan just in case of this type of thing.

Pope's come to Jesus moment is complete and utter BS.  He literally killed dudes trying to kill him the whole movie without hesitation and now, all of a sudden, he doesn't want to anymore?  Not believable.

The writers of the story line missed a lot of little things that would have made the movie better, like consistency and background development.  For a movie that over 2 hours long, I expected a little bit more background on some of the easier to explain concepts.

Ironhead gets shot with a pistol through his lower left gut and it goes straight through.  He gets an Israeli pressure bandage on him and wines for a few scenes and then he doesn't seem to mind it at all, for the next 6 fucking days.  Sorry, anyone whose been shot like that is going to be damn near close to death in a few days of non-treatment, especially not 6 days of 18 hour a day walking with kit through rough terrain.  End of the movie he was perfectly fine, yeah, that's how that works, not.

What was good about the movie - the scenery and locations where they filmed looked awesome.  Everything looked gritty and the movie had a really decent "battle" feeling about it, like during the pre-battle scenes in Gladiator or Vikings, where they are getting ready and it's raining, or the terrain is crappy, but they are perfectly fine with it.  That's the whole movie, same type of feel to it.

A lot of the dialog was decent and really explained some little concepts, I just wish they were able to follow through with this type of concept through the movie.  It would have made for a vastly better movie.  The scenes where they were just talking about things, especially their pasts would have developed so much for this movie.

Overall, the movie is a worth watch just for the drama aspect.  Netflix has a really crappy way of downplaying veterans, cops, etc and this movie is no exception to that.  They almost made it seem like some of them had PTSD without saying it, that some of them were only good at killing people and could not adjust to everyday life and how some of them have drug issues because of the things they saw and did in the MIL.  That's a completely garbage subliminal message to be sending, but it is Netflix after all so watch everything they produce with a grain of salt.