Directed by John Hillcoat. Produced by Keith Redmon, Bard Dorros, Marc Butan, Anthony Katagas, Christopher Woodrow, and John Hillcoat. Written by Matt Cook. Release date: February 26, 2016.
Hey, guys: Did you know that corrupt cops and members of the Russian Mafia are untrustworthy? If you answered "yes," congratulations! You don't have to sit through the almost two hours of boredom that is Triple 9. It's a heist/cop thriller that has two heists - neither of which is good - and four cops - one of whom is good - but fails to do much of anything with either except for having them all betray one another by the end, because you can't trust criminals. Gee, who woulda thunk it?
The good cop is Chris Allen (Casey Affleck), who is the new guy on the scene. He gets partnered up with Marcus (Anthony Mackie), who is a corrupt cop working with Russell (Norman Reedus). Alongside Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor), the three of them perform jobs for the Russians, who are represented by Irina (Kate Winslet). It's "last job" time, because heist movies seemingly always need a "last job," but in order to pull it off, they're going to have to call in a "999" to get the rest of the cops off their backs. What is a 999? It means "officer down."
From here, you're probably already figuring out how the film plays out. Well, it goes like that for a while. Maybe someone survives who shouldn't. Maybe it takes him a long, long time to figure out who the bad guys are. Maybe the bad guys do half the work for him, eliminating members of their own crew because, hey, they're evil. Triple 9 isn't likely to contain anything you haven't seen before, but some people might appreciate its "twists," if only because they don't always come at moments you'd expect. The twists themselves, on the other hand, aren't surprising at all.
Basically, Triple 9 is the type of crime thriller that isn't covering any new territory. It doesn't have any stylistic flourishes to distract us from this, it doesn't contain any interesting or even particularly relatable characters, and it doesn't have any standout moments. It's not trying to say anything, it's not telling a story that we don't know front to back - I'm honestly questioning why it even exists, beyond the "making money for the studio" part.