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Whatever some famous director's might think of Netflix, the streaming service/film studio has put together a solid list of movie releases over the last few years. From fantasy blockbusters starring Will Smith to Oscar nominated dramas, Netflix has it all. The next big release from Netflix is the Ben Affleck-led Triple Frontier, and while it probably won't win any Oscars, the movie is likely to be worth checking out for everybody who has Netflix, so basically everybody.
Our own Michael Reyes gave Triple Frontier a solid four star score and thinks the movie does a solid job of blending the film's multiple genres into an enjoyably complete film.
As an action film, as well as a dramatic character study, Triple Frontier works as an extremely cohesive combination of two types of stories that usually don’t mesh together well.
At its core, Triple Frontier is the story of group of former vets of the same unit, played by Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam, and Garrett Hedlund, decide to go on one last mission strictly for themselves, stealing from a drug kingpin. It's a military/heist movie, something that isn't exactly new to moviegoers, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work.
The review from Entertainment Weekly compares Triple Frontier, directed by J.C. Chandor, to the work of Peter Berg, though it claims Chandor's film has more nuance to it than the frequently nuance free works of Berg...
Chandor films their mission and its male-bonding lead-up using the Peter Berg playbook — you know, lots of backslapping peppered with military jargon. But Triple Frontier isn’t as cheesy and embarrassingly jingoistic as Berg’s films. It’s more ethically murky, especially when the haul they find at the kingpin’s compound turns out to be much, much bigger than they expected.
The biggest thing about Triple Frontier is likely the cast. A movie starring Ben Affleck and Oscar Isaac being a Netflix production is still a big deal, even if the streaming service has had growing success wooing major performers and directors to the platform. Will Smith made Bright with the director of Suicide Squad only a couple years ago and following that we saw the likes of Sandra Bullock, and Alfonso Cuaron join him. Marten Scorsese has directed Robert De Niro for Netflix's upcoming The Irishman, and just typing those words still feels strange.
Understanding how these theatrical release films (Triple Frontier is in theaters for one week starting today before hitting Netflix next week) work on a streaming service is something everybody, from the industry to the viewers, is trying to figure out. For what it's worth, Slashfilm thinks Triple Frontier is a movie made for Netflix.
A film where big, angry men with scruffy facial hair strap on tactical vests and glower their way through one burst of violence to the next. It is, in a sense, the perfect Netflix movie. Something to stream from your bed in the dark after you’ve knocked back one too many beers.
While the majority of reviews for Triple Frontier are positive, it's certainly the case that none are necessarily glowing. Even among those that praise the film, there seems to be a feeling that there could have been more here then we ended up getting. It seems to want to be more than military dudes shooting guns, but doesn't necessarily get there. Although, if military dudes shooting guns is your thing, you'll likely enjoy this version of that.
Of course, there are some who are far from that kind. Variety feels that, in trying to be a smarter action movie, it ends up failing at being anything resembling smart, and ends up trying too hard, reventing it from being the dumb action movie that could have been equally enjoyable.
Yet I’m sorry, there’s a dullness at the core of Triple Frontier. We’ve seen these sorts of situations once too often, done tighter and better, with more surprise. And though Chandor has assembled an ace cast of aging machos, they’re working with stale crumbs of dialogue. The movie made me wish I was watching either a truly heady thriller (which this is not) or a zippier version of The Expendables.
This does go to show how different people can see the same movie in very different ways. One praises the film for being more "ethically murky" complimenting the movie for not simply being military gun porn, while another sort of wishes it had been closer to that, because it misses the mark at being anything more.
There are certainly audiences for both sorts of films, it will be interesting to see if this film, which seems to fall someplace in between will be able to find an audience. At the same time, everybody has Netflix right, so a lot of people could end up watching this one simply because it's new and available. When audiences do flock to Netflix's new releases the movies can see a viewership on par with some blockbusters.
For, THR, the problem with Triple Frontier is something a bit more fundamental. While the movie has an impressive cast, it fails to do anything impressive with them. All of the team members come across as being the same character and lack enough detail to let the audience understand or empathize with them.
Despite the heavy dose of action and numerous tense situations, this Netflix offering has trouble staying in high gear once it gets there and the characterizations remain one dimensional - the men all speak exactly the same way.
Triple Frontier may not be the next Roma, but then few movies will be. It's great that, just like any other theatrical movie studio, Netflix can create a wide variety of movies for a wide variety of audiences. With the massive user base that Netflix has there's a lot of people who like a lot of different movies. Triple Frontier clearly isn't every critic's cup of tea, but it looks like many might still enjoy it. If you're lucky enough to be in the right town you can see it in theaters now, otherwise, it hits Netflix next week.