There is no shortage of hotness in Netflix’s Triple Frontier. From gorgeous actors kicking ass to explosions to literally setting thousands of dollars of money on fire to stay warm in the middle of the Andes, this movie is full of what makes the action-adventure genre such a thrilling movie-going experience. Too bad none of that could save Triple Frontier from being so damned boring.
It took J.C. Candor nine years to get this film off the ground, and if that doesn’t raise red flags, it should have. Everyone from Tom Hanks to Tom Hardy to Johnny Depp was attached to this project while it toiled in development hell over at Paramount. To be honest, I would’ve preferred to have seen that project. Could you imagine a military movie with all three of those actors in addition to Channing Tatum and Mahershala Ali? That’s the movie Triple Frontier was supposed to be. Instead, the audience got this. Yikes.
Nothing against Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal. They brought big names and gorgeous faces to the movie, but the story–written by Candor and Mark Boal–let down these powerhouses and I am salty for it.
Ex-Delta Force soldier Pope (Isaac) has toiled in the favelas of Brazil for three years, trying to clean up the streets and bring peace to a city that’s been rocked by violence and drugs. The only problem is, he’s failing and his police back up are just as corrupt and greedy as the infamous drug kingpin Lorea. He’s the man Pope wants to bring in and bring to justice, he’s just nowhere Pope can find him. Yovanna (Adria Arjona) confirms that Lorea is hiding in the jungle, shacked up with his family and his millions of dollars in drug money. So, Pope gets the idea to bring in his former Delta Force brothers. Redfly (Affleck) is a failed relator. Ironhead (Hunnam) is a military motivational speaker. Ben (Hedlund), his brother, is an amateur MMA fighter, and Catfish (Pascal) is a pilot who was caught with cocaine.
The job? Break into Lorea’s compound. Kill him. Steal some money. Fly over the Andes to the ocean and get away with some money that will ensure they won’t ever have to work another day in their lives. Of course, with any heist film, the heist does not go off without a hitch. Redfly gets greedy and their trek across the jungle and then the Andes is littered with bodies and the poison of questioning loyalties and violence.
Triple Frontier, despite sounding interesting on paper, is a drag. Seriously. It feels like a three-hour movie about an hour in and the hour mark is only the halfway point. The stakes don’t feel as high as they should considering they’re three white guys and two Hispanic former soldiers in the thick of the jungles of South America where some people are notoriously suspicious and downright hostile to police, Americans, and white guys. Even after Redfly and Pope (though mostly Redlfy) mow down a couple of cocaine farmers, the threat to the team doesn’t seem fully realized. Basically, the stakes seem too easy or there to simply be there. They don’t seem to serve a purpose besides proving that even in 2019 a heister can’t get away with the crime no matter how experienced they are.
I will give Isaac credit, though. He is probably the only one, besides Hunnam, who is convincing as an ex-Delta Force soldier in this situation. Honestly, he’s the only one in the cast who doesn’t seem to be overacting or forcing it. It felt like Isaac settled into Pope’s role rather easily. Despite Affleck being older than him and having been in the business longer, Isaac demands attention and commands the screen for the time that he’s the most masculine and dominant character. Once the story shifts to give Redfly the attention and mantle of the most masculine and dominant character, Issac still steals attention but it should’ve been Pope’s story through and through, if only to further cement his acting creds in an action film outside of the Star Wars verse.
Triple Frontier could’ve been any number of films, and in that regard, it could’ve been thousands of times better, but it chose to be this film and this story and I’m disappointed.