Ben Affleck has been a hot debate over the past couple of years. Affleck stepped into the mantle of Batman and left his mark on the character. For the most part, the general consensus was Affleck was indeed a solid Batman. The majority of what his career focused on, aside from The Accountant and the quickly forgotten Live By Night, was the caped crusader. It’s been two years since Affleck has gazed the silver screen in any role. He’s spent the majority of that time teasing fanboys whether or not, he would step into the role of Bruce Wayne and his alter ego for one last cinematic outing. Most notably in the upcoming, The Batman, from writer-director Matt Reeves. Finally, Affleck gave us a straight answer and stepped down from the role. Now, for the first time since Justice League¸ Affleck returns to form in the military-heist film, Triple Frontier, from Netflix.
Affleck isn’t alone though. Frontier assembles a quite impressive cast. The cast includes Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim), Pedro Pascal (Kingsman: The Golden Circle), and Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy). The film tells the story of Santiago “Pope” Garcia, played by Isaac, who has been investigating a drug lord for the past three years. When Garcia finally has a window to take him down, he assembles a team of allies from his special forces days. This team includes Hunnam, Affleck, Pascal & Hedlund.
The film does a really good job at setting-up and showcasing where each of this team has been since the glory days. Including the likes of a real estate agent, motivational speaker exclusive to the army, MMA fighter, Spanish Police, and a recently placed on probation pilot. The first act does a terrific job at building up these characters and really diving into their lives, post special forces, and how these five guys are adjusting to normal life. The psychology of these characters, in this transition, is extremely well handled; especially with Affleck’s character, Tom “Redfly” Davis. The majority of the film revolves around Isaac, though it maybe Hunnam that turns in the best performance. It’s hard to stand out when you’re surrounded with talent like Isaac, Affleck, Pascal and Hedlund – yet, Hunnam steals the show. The film opens with Hunnam and he delivers a truly emotional performance that could go down as one of his career’s highlights.
Don’t get wrong, the film is littered with terrific performances. Affleck and Isaac are also worth mentioning. We’ve seen Jungle-adventure or heist films take place within Spanish-speaking territory – yet still speak English. That’s not the case with Triple Frontier. Frontier willing embraces its’ setting of South America, marrying both English and Spanish languages. When you’re in the grounds of action, as well, Frontier manages to deliver some solid sequences including some intense heist sequences and jungle action.
The biggest problem with the movie, though, would have to be the pacing of the film. The first half of this movie seems to flow flawlessly. Building up the five core characters, each distributing enough screen time to never feel overcrowded. The only character that could suffer from this is Pascal’s Francisco “Catfish” Morales. Every other character is given a decent amount of backstory, with the exception of Pascal. He basically has a throw away line that tells the viewer what he’s been up to since leaving Special Forces. The tone of the film half of this film is a bit lighter as it’s exploring the layout of these characters. There is a sense of joy, and even a couple of humorous moments, you can have within this first half. As Frontier hits the halfway point, the tone completely transitions to this intense and joyless thriller. It almost feels like two different films put together and it feels that way because its so quick and so extreme. Had the transition between the two halves been a bit smoother, it could have worked. Unfortunately, they didn’t and the film suffers from it.
Overall, Triple Frontier, turns up a mixed bag of treasures. Solid performances from leads like Ben Affleck and Oscar Isaac lead the charge. Yet, it’s Charlie Hunnam who steals the show - delivering a fantastic and emotionally charged performance. One of the film’s biggest issues is a consistent tone though. In its’ foundational phase, Frontier seems to have a bit of a lighter tone. However, when it reaches its half way point – it feels intense and extreme. The change comes so suddenly it feels like two different visions come together for the final product. Frontier still delivers solid story, amazing action and good, for the most part, pacing.
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