Triple 9 (2016)

(Netflix Streaming, December 2016) Utterly forgettable crime drama featuring crooked cops moonlighting as robbers, Triple 9 struggles to remain in mind even as the end credits start rolling. There is very little here that’s interesting, either from a plot point of view (repeating clichés often seen and just as often better-executed) or from a visual point of view. The opening heist sequence, with its vivid orange colors and urban shootout, is the closest that the film comes to a memorable image—it’s not a coincidence if the poster features it. After that, the film fast goes into diminishing-returns territory as it gets less and less interesting. The gunplay blurs, the line between villains and heroes is irrelevant and the film isn’t even able to use its appealing ensemble cast to good effect. There’s a tremendous amount of wasted potential here—any film that manages to avoid doing anything interesting Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Gal Gadot and Woody Harrelson really isn’t trying. Kate Winslet does the best she can as a Russian Mafia boss wife and comes closest to avoiding complete ennui, but it’s really not enough to save the film. I took my time before writing this review and I shouldn’t have—a few weeks after seeing the film, it’s almost entirely gone from my memory, and reading the Wikipedia summary of the film to fill in the blank is just prolonging the ennui—Triple 9 is such a generic crime thriller that it’s a miracle it didn’t go straight to video with a cast of unknown actors.

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