Literally as I write this post, I have just received another pitch from a publicist about a movie that I can go ahead and file under TRIPLE 9 status. It's fitting that the beginning of the year, and on the same weekend as one of the most lackluster slate of Oscar films in its history, Hollywood would plop yet another pile of poo into the box office black hole.
To be fair, TRIPLE 9 isn't a bad movie. It's mildly exciting to watch at times, with the types of twists and turns that aren't really that twisty (because you sorta expect them), but you appreciate the effort enough to remain invested through the ending credits. But it's the kind of crooked cop film that will likely wind up on a random list of "100 Crooked Cop Movies" compiled in no ranking order...in the next few years. It's that derivative.
And what's perhaps most miserable about it is that you're not compelled to care about any of these characters--despite the fact that a lot of f**ked up s**t happens to some of them, repeatedly. Which is a shame because the cast is really, really good. I mean, you have Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Anthony Mackie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aaron Paul, Kate Winslet, Norman Reedus, and Clifton Collins Jr., who comprise a cast of characters whose individual stories (and in some instances, lack thereof) are paper thin--to the point where Ejiofor as a gangster forced to do one last dangerous heist in order to get his daughter back from his ex and her Russian mob sister (Winslet in a rare uncomfortable performance to watch) is all we've got to hold on to (and it's straight out of a bad cartoon)
So right away, the audience is looking for something, anything, else to which they can turn their attention. Which brings us to the action of the plot, where the lines blur between cops and criminals--you don't know who to trust and who's going to end up turning against whom. There's some suspense, decent acting (though Affleck clearly phoned his performance in), and brooding music, but ultimately the film is a forgettable, bargain basement version of The Departed.
Rating: C (*** out of *****)
TRIPLE 9 opens in theaters today.