Garrett and Carson prepare for war to talk John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.
Triple Frontier (I still don’t understand the title) is a military-style heist movie with an impressive cast. Reminds me of the 1999 Gulf War film Three Kings with George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube. A group of soldiers decide that stealing from bad guys isn’t really stealing. That they should be paid for their time served and their sacrifices from the millions of dollars that their enemies have socked away. While Three Kings is an action-adventure with comedy movie, Triple Frontier is more of a drama with some action sprinkled throughout.
Triple Frontier has a good set up and general direction from the start. We are introduced to Charlie Hunnam, Oscar Isaac, and Ben Affleck in their lives after their military careers have ended. Then Oscar has a plan. A plan to set them all up for life. When you listen to how they rationalize their involvement in the heist, it is hard to believe that this type of thing doesn’t happen often in real life. Men with a particular set of skills, who have a network of informants and contacts, who feel cast aside by society choose to go hunt down bad guys and take their money. Makes perfect sense to me.
It is during the second half that Triple Frontier started to unravel. Questionable decisions are made by both the characters in the movie and by the writers who wrote it. Triple Frontier more than most movies in the genre, could have greatly benefited by Netflix new gimmick of Choose Your Own Adventure. Almost exactly 1 hour into the movie, you should get three options of what the crew should do. Do you continue down the path of poor choices that we saw in the movie or do you make a different decision and make this one of the best movies of the year? The choice is yours!
Even with it’s flaws, Triple Frontier is a big step forward for Netflix movies. Big names, big budget, solid directing. I am looking forward to where they go from here.
In what is said to be Sylvester Stallone’s last run as Rocky Balboa (we have all heard that before), Michael B. Jordan is back in the ring as Adonis Creed in his quest for boxing immortality. But he is not alone in his return. Creed II brings back fan favorite Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, the man who killed Adonis’ father, and introduces his son Viktor Drago into the mix. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Florian Monteanu is cast perfectly as Viktor Drago. He is a mountain of a man. Very few people in this world could even come close to making Michael B. Jordan’s physique look small. Finally the Rocky Series has come back to the legendary intimidating opponents of the past. Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, Thunderlips, Ivan Drago, and even Tommy “The Machine” Gunn all looked like a threat to Rocky. Mason Dixon, Ricky Conlan, and Donnie Wheeler may have been “real” boxers, but they never passed the eye test and are all forgettable antagonists. Their movies excel despite them. At 6’4″ and weighing in at 240 lbs., Viktor Drago captures the same awe-inspiring moments as his father. This guy looks like he could repeat history and kill Creed in the ring. Sitting in the theater, you can feel it when he lands his devastating blows into his opponents. It is awesome!
Creed II could have been easily turned into a movie called Drago. That would have been a very bold and interesting take, and all the components were there to make that happen. I love everything Michael B. Jordan does on screen, but in hindsight I would have been in full support of that choice. I was surprised how well developed the Dragos were with such little screen time.
Nearly all of the supporting cast of Creed is back for Creed II as well. Every single one of them turns in another stellar performance. There is a lot going on in this movie. If there is a criticism to be had, it is that. It is difficult to give weight and feeling to a situation when you are bouncing from one issue to another. While it is not distracting, a more focused direction could have been more beneficial. If you are a fan of the Rocky Series, Creed II does not disappoint. I am looking forward to the next 6 installments!
Outlaw King tells the tale of how Scotland won their independence from the English in the 1300’s. We have seen a version of this story in the 1995 Academy Award winning movie Braveheart. Outlaw King chooses to focus on how Sir Robert Bruce became the King of Scots, rather than on Sir William Wallace’s rebellion. It was a good idea to keep Wallace to a brief glimpse rather than someone attempting to do their best Mel Gibson impression.
Outlaw King has the impossible task of attempting to escape the shadow of Braveheart. Even over 20 years later, when you use nearly the same cast of characters as the greatest movie of all time you have to expect the comparisons. While Outlaw King may be slightly more historically accurate, it pales to Braveheart in every other regard.
Chris Pine does a fine job of portraying Robert Bruce despite his mullet and sporadic Scottish accent. I was most disappointed with Stephen Dillane. I was very much looking forward to him as King Edward. However, he was not as intimidating and seemed far less regal than he did as Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones. And of course you cannot have a medieval epic without a James Cosmo cameo (you will recognize him when you see him).
All in all, Outlaw King is a good Netflix watch on a lazy Saturday afternoon, but it won’t be winning any awards.