Movie Review: Triple 9
Updated: May 29, 2019
I went into the theater knowing exactly why I was watching this movie opening weekend, despite mixed reviews – Norman Reedus was in it. Add Aaron Paul on top of that and you got my interest. I settled into my cushy seat and the lights dimmed, and I was rewarded by hearing the rumbling of my lovers voice within the first few minutes..
They were planning a robbery. Gabe (Aaron Paul) and Russell (Norman Reedus) plan a bank heist with Michael (Chiwetel Ejiofor). They go back and fourth when Gabe vouches for two more men to add to their crew who he “trained” with – keep that in mind, we will circle back later.
Skip ahead a bit, and they are infiltrating a huge bank. Russ is outside, controlling the team and keeping them updated as to the whereabouts of cops, timing and what he can see on the bank cameras – he’s the tech man and get away car.
First things first, these guys are good. They execute the plan with ease and get into their get away cars when Gabe pulls a very Jesse Pinkman move – he gets greedy and grabs some stacks of cash when they were really in there for a deposit box. The dye packs in the cash explode, and the car fills up with red dye/smoke.
This derails the plan, lets call it an epic fail.
They manage to get away and retreat to their hidey-holes to change out of their stained clothes and torch the van. You realize at this time, the two people Gabe vouches for are dirty cops, Marcus (Anthony Mackie) and Jeorge (Clifton Collins Jr).
The story follows Marcus back to the precinct where he is partnered with the newbie cop Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) who is thought to be a glorified crossing guard only getting by because of his uncle Jeff Allen’s (Woody Harrelson) reputation. Jeff Allen is a bad ass detective currently investigating a string of heists [hmm]
The crew has another job to pull. They aren’t up for it, the bank was supposed to be their last. Michael denies the job form the Russian/Israeli mob boss Irina (Kate Winslet), but she knows just how to hurt him, since she is his son’s mothers sister. Knowing Michaels circle, Irina sends a thug to get the message across. This comes in the form of her murdering Russ. [NOOOOOO!!! NORMAN IS DEAD ALREADY? ITS ONLY BEEN 30 MINUTES!! IT WASN’T ENOUGH TIME!!]
This pushes the story forward by damaging Russell’s recovering addict brother Gabe even further (another Pinkmanesque trait), and putting emphasis on the seriousness of the situation Michael is facing, when he has to shoot his long time military buddy Russ in the head.
They need to pull a 999. Officer down.
Gabe immediately objects but is put in his place by the others, storming off when they decide to target Chris Allen.
Gabe’s conscious gets in the way as he tries to talk Marcus out of the 999, and when that fails, tries to warn Chris himself. He goes to the spot where the hit is going down in an semi-abandoned building, and ends up being killed by Marcus, but getting a shot in on him in the process. Gabe saves Chris, but when Marcus falls, a 999 is called and the heist starts as planned.
The pieces start to fall into place for Chris and Jeff when they pull up a photo of their John Doe and see that it is former officer Gabriel Welch, who was in training with Marcus [Now we know where the Welch’s conscious comes into play, they were both served their countries in different capacities before diving into the murky underbelly]
The heist goes as planned, Michael makes the drop and in the process, blows up Irina. He then gets pulled over with the bag full of cash by Detective Jeorge, who attempts to put him at ease, then promptly shoots him in the head and grabs the cash.
With most of the crew dead, Jeorge decides there is one more loose end, Marcus is in a coma and has to be put down. In the hospital, he realizes Chris is poking around the case too closely, and decides to kill him too. He asks Chris to come to the precinct to make a formal statement on the events that transpired with Marcus in the hit building.
Jeorge gets in his car to follow Chris to the station and end his life on the way, when he realizes Jeff Allen is in the back seat of the car. Jeff shoots Jeorge dead, getting shot in the process, and smiles as it fades to black.
Triple 9 was an intense heist movie with lots of subtle unexpected twists. I enjoyed the movie over all, but thought there was a lot going on, so someone who wasn’t fully invested in the story would probably have trouble following along.
I want to say Chiwetel Ejiofor was a good guy in the story, but I cant help but notice he gets a lotta people killed to get his son back in his life, when maybe – just maybe, he shouldn’t be in the kids life at all. Should the kids be with the mobsters? Probably not, but he seems a lot happier and safer with them Norman Reedus and Aaron Paul were brilliant as usual, and it was excellent to see Clifton Collins Jr. in a role other than the silly Mexican sidekick in the Boondock Saints. He plays one good slimy bad guy.
Anthony Mackie makes you love to hate him, understanding his struggle but wishing he would make the right choice, and Casey Affleck gains your has you routing for him to make it out of this one alive.
In a film where all the bad guys die, even my future husband Reedus, it’s a good movie if you’re a heist enthusiast, but if you want an easy watch, this wont be your thing.