(US - 2019)
Directed by J.C. Chandor. Written by Mark Boal and J.C. Chandor. Cast: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal, Adria Arjona, Rey Gallegos, Louis Jeovanny, Juan Camilo Castillo, Sheila Vand, Madeline "Maddy" Wary. (R, 125 mins)
In various stages of development since 2010, Netflix's drug cartel heist thriller TRIPLE FRONTIER was originally set to be director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal's follow-up to their Oscar-winning THE HURT LOCKER, with stars like Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Channing Tatum, Tom Hardy, Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, and Mark Wahlberg all in talks or attached to make up the ensemble cast at different points along the way. By the time the film went into production in early 2018, only Ben Affleck remained as Bigelow and Boal were out, though both are listed as co-producers, and Boal shares screenwriting credit with eventual director J.C. Chandor, who established himself as a promising new filmmaker with the riveting financial crisis autopsy MARGIN CALL, the Robert Redford-starring ALL IS LOST, and the throwback Sidney Lumet-style NYC crime and corruption of A MOST VIOLENT YEAR. Chandor seems an odd choice for a big-budget actioner like this (and seeing the finished product, it's a little difficult to picture Tom Hanks starring), but it finds its bearings after a shaky opening act that, with dialogue like "That's the price of being a warrior" and needle-drops by Metallica and Pantera, seems dangerously close to venturing down the same path as the meat-headed, barbed-wire-tatted bicep brosploitation of 2014's mouth-breathing SABOTAGE, a fuckin' wicked sick fuckin' work-hard/play-hard fuckin' X-Treme energy drink disguised as an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.