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Triple 9 (Blu-ray Review)

Can Triple 9 bare the load of such a star-studded cast? (Blu-ray Review)Get your Ski-Masks ready, cuz we’re goin’ on a heist! Triple 9 has a massive cast of stars and talent that are perfectly picked for these roles.  A group of ex-military dirty cops set out on one big final bank robbery before they go their separate ways off into the sunset.  But things take a turn when Russian Mob boss Irena (Kate Winslet) decides that they need to take on one more score before their “debt” is settled.  Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but the job in question requires them to break into a Homeland Security building.  Their plan to allow them enough time to escape before the Cops arrive is to use Chris Allen (Casey Afleck), who recently transferred to their precinct as a pawn to distract the authorities while they make their get away.

Film:
As usual, Chiwetel Ejiofor remains a shining light of a performer, even while being surrounded by such top notch actors as Casey Afleck, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus Woody Harrelson and Kate Winslet.  This is one of the rare instances where we get to see him delve into darker territory.  Generally speaking he tends to play characters that sit on the side of good or righteousness.  Here he shows us the true capacity of his range and ability as a dirty cop from Atlanta, Georgia.

I have to give credit to Kate Winslet as being another stand out amongst the crowd.  I could probably watch an entire series that follows her Russian character Irena.  She has this way of holding herself in such a calm and yet sinister way that tells you that there”s a lot more to this person than we realize.  Everything about her performance just makes you want to know more about her backstory.  But when you take into account just how many characters in this film need to be developed, it’s understandable that a few people might get short-changed in regards to their past.  Unfortunately, aside from Irena, the rest of the female cast including Wonder Woman herself Gal Gadot, mostly just serve as “eye candy” rather than real human beings.

Can Triple 9 bare the load of such a star-studded cast? (Blu-ray Review)

Clifton Collins Jr. just might be the new go-to guy when you need someone to up the “creep factor” of your movie.  He’s just so great at drawing you into thinking he’s just a regular guy, only to find out that he is ANYTHING but.  He plays Franco Rodriguez, one of the cops who comes up with the sinister idea to use Chris Allen as “bate”.  And you know what?  You totally buy that he would think of something like this.  He’s probably another one of my favorites in this film as you never really are quite sure where he stands in regards to everything that’s going on.  Is he REALLY a dirty cop or is he working undercover for Internal Affairs?  Does he have a separate deal with the Russians?  We never really know until the very end, which was a nice little surprise.

On a whole, the plot is fairly straight forward and unfortunately the dialogue is nothing to rave about either.  This has to be the reasoning behind building such a cast of star studded actors.  Having said that, it’s pretty rare to find a film that relies so heavily on it’s performances and is still worth watching.  I’ve seen some of the greatest actors in the world get cast in so-so films, but they’re STILL unable to elevate the it to any level that would be enjoyable.  In this case I think we have director John Hilcoat to thank for crafting such an exciting experience out of a rather bland script.  If not for him, and everyone else involved committing so strongly to making something worthwhile, this could’ve easily ended up as nothing more than a bad episode of The Shield.

Now the script is by no means ALL bad.  It does include some genuinely surprising twists and turns, plus the scenes of gun-play are expertly choreographed.  You really feel like they took their time with these scenes in particular.  One of the stand out moments occurs at the start of the film during their first heist.  I won’t give too much away, but it seems that The Dark Knight may have served as an influence in the creation of this scene in particular.

Can Triple 9 bare the load of such a star-studded cast? (Blu-ray Review)

Video:
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1
Clarity/Detail:  Crisp and clean. There are a lot of dark scenes in this film so it was imperative that they nail the clarity of the image.
Depth: Not a lot of opportunities to showcase the depth as most of the scenes are shot fairly close and tight.  But what little there is is pretty decent.
Black Levels: Very rich although there is just a BIT muddiness at times.  But it’s hardly even noticeable.
Color Reproduction: There isn’t a wide range of colors in involved in this movie.  But what little there is, is well represented.
Flesh Tones: Clear and accurate.
Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

 

Can Triple 9 bare the load of such a star-studded cast? (Blu-ray Review)
Audio:
Audio Formats: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Dynamics: Excellent.  The dialogue is very well balanced among the gun shots and occasional explosion.
Low Frequency Extension: Rich and vibrant.
Surround Sound: N/A.
Dialogue Reproduction: Crisp and very clear.  I find with films of this sort that people tend to mumble their lines.  Luckily, that never poses a problem in regards to the clarity of their dialogue.

Can Triple 9 bare the load of such a star-studded cast? (Blu-ray Review)

Extras:

Deleted Scenes

Under the Gun – A Behind the scenes featurette  which mostly consists of interviews with the cast about their characters.  The behind the scenes footage is pretty minimal.

An Authentic World – This is mostly a continuation of “Under the Gun” but here we get some background from both the director John Hilcoat and the cast in regards to the goal to make sure that everything in the film is a realistic as possible.  Some of the cast did independent research with real life police officers to help improve the realism of their characters.  It’s by no means unheard of for an actor to do something like this for a role.  But it’s nice to know that people still take the time to focus on the subtle details of their performances.

Can Triple 9 bare the load of such a star-studded cast? (Blu-ray Review)

Summary
I had a good time watching this movie.  It’s definitely worth your time.  Like I said earlier, the performances are really what hold this thing together.  Without them, this movie would’ve been pretty boring.  I’ll also point out the scenes with the local gang-bangers are pretty cool to watch.  This felt like another area where they paid particularly close attention to the authentication of these moments.  You can tell that there’s a delicate balance between these guys and the cops, that some times you can just arrest someone right off the bat.  You have to take into account their standing in regards to their Gang or else one night in jail could escalate things to a things for everyone involved.   And this is done without it even being specifically explained but with little moments of tension between both sides.

Triple 9 arrives on Blu-ray May 31st!

Can Triple 9 bare the load of such a star-studded cast? (Blu-ray Review)

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