Sunday, March 24, 2019

Double Triple

The Do Some Damage podcast is back for a second season this week. Once again host Steve Weddle spends a theoretical seven minutes chatting with Holly West about TV options, Chris F. Holm about music and I flap my lips about movies.

I took the opportunity to double down on triple titles beginning with J.C. Chandor's super soldiers turned thieving bastards Netflix original (and still in limited theatrical release) Triple Frontier. Ben Affleck and Oscar Isaac lead a stud-studded cast who scowl and grunt and speechify in order to make it clear how seriously they're taking their decision to put their military training to personal use and commit crimes. By their logic nobody in a position to punish them should care too much as long as they only steal from and kill a Mexican cartel boss in Mexico.

Their logic holds, but their plan does not. Soon they're having to run while lugging many many duffel bags of cash with them through the jungle over mountains and into the ocean while the manhunt/treasure hunt focused on them becomes overwhelming.

Sounds like a great setup for a fun adventure flick, a hardcore heist movie or a simple plan gone to shit noir and it's not really any of those things. Hell it could've become a revolution movie, but the whole 'our system is so broken we have to turn to crime to get by' premise gets shame-swallowed in the end with a big sigh and a 'we're still bros, right?' hug-a-thon and at times almost audibly pleads "The troops, who will support the troops?" Ultimately it gets a the go-ahead from me mostly for the cool location shooting and a handful of good action moments, but I really was hoping for a lot more from it.

On the podcast I recommend checking out another (and better) Chandor crime flick A Most Violent Year also starring Isaac, Jessica Chastain and David Oyelowo and available on Netflix now, but if you want to take another crack at the Triple Frontier formula and come up with different results look for David O. Russell's Three Kings or shit, how about Stewart Raffill's High Risk (on Amazon Prime). Another story of blue-collar Americans unable to make ends meet who turn to armed robbery in South America to secure the life they feel they deserve. This one also boasts an impressive cast including James Brolin, Cleavon Little, Anthony Quinn, James Coburn, Ernest Borgnine, Lindsay Wagner and Bruce Davison.

It's ridiculous and dumb as hell, but sometimes sublimely so. It doesn't work, but at least it's fun.

The other flick catching my eye this episode is Jessie V. Johnson's Triple Threat featuring a kick-ass cast from all your favorite martial arts straight to video action movies. Johnson himself makes a lot of this kind of fare, but this time he's gone so big he's hit the big screen. I've not yet seen Triple Threat, but I fuckin want to. Iko Uwais, Tony Jaa, Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Celina Jade, JeeJa Yanin and Tiger Hu Chen is some Expendables-level casting and everything I've seen about it sounds solid.

You could/should watch other shit featuring the folks involved if you're curious about this one. Personally I'm a big fan of Johnson's previous Scott Adkins-starring movie The Debt Collector (now available on Netflix). I've watched a bunch of Adkins movies and they're pretty hit or miss - highlights include his decades-later sequels to Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicles like Universal Soldier and Hard Target - but The Debt Collector is easily his most appealing role to date for me. Mostly because somebody had the bright idea to let him be funny and inject a little personality into his performance. He's helped by Louis Mandylor as the other half of the hard-boiled odd couple and fuckin Tony Todd is the bad guy, so it's gotta be worth checking out, right? Pretty perfect, unpretentious, low-brow, low-stakes fun.

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