Triple 9

Triple 9 has a cast including Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackie, Norman Reedus, Kate WInslet, Woody Harrelson, Michael K. Williams, and Gal Gadot just to name a few. The list goes on and on. It’s an unfortunate shame then that the film isn’t as impressive as the actors in it. Triple 9 is a heist film that has little to do with the heist.


The opening scene showcases a group of men with masks on who rob a bank vault in Atlanta, GA with near perfect tactical skill. As it turns out, among the criminals is a group of corrupt cops looking to score an extra payday. But it’s not cash they’re after. Their leader Michael (Ejiofor) is doing the heist at the “request” of the Russian Mafia. What was supposed to just be one robbery turns into another, however, and the second one is near impossible to pull off even with a couple of crooked cops on their side. The only way they can see it being a success is if they call in a 999, which is the code used by the police when a cop goes down. One of their own is going to have to die.


The intensity and precision of the initial heist is wonderful, but unfortunately it’s something that is never matched for the rest of the film. The majority of it is spent exploring these dull characters in their everyday lives. Aaron Paul’s Gabe Welch is reminiscent of his Breaking Bad character Jesse Pinkman in the later seasons as he begins to grow a conscience and regret his misdoings, coping with booze, drugs, and women. Officer Marcus Atwood (Mackie) is busy showing the new guy and boss’s son Chris Allen (Affleck) the ropes of the force and the two immediately butt heads. You can immediately guess who the triple 9 target is going to be. Meanwhile, Michael is getting the runaround from the Russian Mafia who are using his son as a bargaining chip for the heist. The story is all over the place as it focuses intently on the characters yet doesn’t say much about them. The details of the heist they’re all about to do is barely glossed over until it’s all about to go down.


As a result, Triple 9 is rather boring. It drags in the middle as it tries to make you care about these characters who are all quite unlikeable except for Chris Allen. He’s the perpetual good guy of the film while the rest are shades of grey that are all closer to the darker side than the light. It’s disappointing because the entire cast is more than capable of great things. There’s simply too much noise going on and not enough quality material.


Triple 9 starts off on a high note, but then it’s all downhill from there. It has a great cast but don’t let that fool you. For a film that’s jammed-packed there’s not much substance. It’s a dull grind that leaves you wanting something more by the end.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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