I am always wary of movies featuring all star casts because 90 percent of the time, they set expectations too high and by its end, the film fails to deliver on the hype. Whether its on actual cinema or on a streaming service, its always the same case. Netflix original “Triple Frontier” is no exception and was actually a waste of good talent.
Synopsis: After retiring from active duty, former Delta Force members Tom aka Redfly (Ben Affleck), William aka Ironhead (Charlie Hunnam), Benny (Garrett Hedlund), and Catfish (Pedro Pascal) are activated by their teammate Pope (Oscar Isaac) to scope out the secret hideout of a Colombian drug lord by the name of Lorea. At first, Pope explains that they need to confirm where Lorea is hiding $75 million worth of drug money in his home in order to raid the location but later, the mission turns into an ambitious heist, which the team deems as their reward for all their years of risking their necks for their country.
Tread carefully, spoilers ahead.
“Triple Frontier” should really be renamed “10 reasons why you should not succumb to peer pressure” and the movie makes no secret that not all of the members of the team are going to make it out alive, thanks to the overly dramatic selling of this mission as their passport for a better life. It attempts to amp up the drama by planting seeds about false motivations and some foreshadowing but it doesn’t really work out.
I think the problem with the film is mainly its desire to focus on Ben Affleck’s Tom as the central character. The other members of the team looked to Tom to make the plans and keep them in check but when it came time to execute said plan, it was also Tom who strayed from the schedule and forced his friends into making the mission even more dangerous than it already was.
It was also Tom that forced Catfish to overload on the cargo and despite knowing better, being the pilot, Pascal’s character simply shrugs off the difference in the weight and follows Tom blindly into the worst decision one could make given the circumstance. The more rational characters like Pope and William were too afraid to rock the boat to speak up and Benny, who was the brashest and most reckless member of the team, seemed to be the only one who stepped up to say the things everyone was thinking about.
I was really frustrated how these five “expert” military men f*cked themselves so hard when even an idiot could see what they needed to do to make it out alive was unload the money. They could have just given half to the farmers in exchange for the donkeys and supplies and in exchange for their silence, but instead of doing it and earning the loyalty of the locals, they went berserk and went on a killing spree — which effectively made them villains killing the innocents.
Now, I would understand this if the film was able to establish Tom’s psychological state or the abrupt change in his character — from cautious to callous, from brainy to greedy, and the worst part was — everyone just followed his lead even if they knew he was leading them to their doom. Sure, there is an unspoken bond among soldiers who served together on the field, faced with the worst side of humanity, but friends should be able to call on each other’s bullshit right? That’s a basic. And Tom was a very bad friend indeed, no matter what he did for his friends before when they were still deployed servicemen.
“Triple Frontier,” from being marketed as a heist movie, quickly loses its way just like its characters and shifts into a survival movie, but with millions of dollars worth of cash being dragged along mountains of the Andes and with the full force of a Colombian drug cartel waiting to intercept the characters bearing the loot.
By its end, viewers will wonder what the hell just happened and shake their heads at the waste of potential that the collaboration among these fine actors presented. If you’re looking for an action movie that will challenge your intellect and your adrenalin, this is not the movie for you, but if you simply want to raise your blood pressure for no particular reason, feel free to check it out. Don’t be fooled by the cool trailer. You’ve been warned.