Triple Frontier is actually a “tri-border area along the junction of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil” in South America (see Wikipedia); yes, I had to look it up as part of my recon for this film. But don’t dive too deep into the geography of this new Netflix action film, lest you become completely lost in “Plot Hole Jungle.”
For instance, it’s roughly 300 miles from the Andes Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, but the anti-heroes of this movie traverse it all in a matter of days while hauling hundreds of pounds of ill-gotten cash with them.
Nevertheless, Triple Frontier is a mostly satisfying heist-film with enough original twists and man-against-the-elements adventure to keep it interesting. It is in the same vein as films like Sorcerer and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but with a lot more military-style machismo.
Five mostly-retired soldiers decide to take the law into their own hands and go after a South American drug lord, with the plan being to take him out and then take his money. They figure they’ve used their particular set of skills enough for their country long enough, now it’s time to get some for themselves.
It’s an interesting morality play and its set against some beautiful South American scenery. Ben Affleck plays the ranking leader who is tired of his civilian real estate job; Oscar Isaac is the plan’s mastermind and Adria Arjona is his insider girlfriend; Pedro Pascal is the level-headed pilot; Garrett Hedlund is the team’s loyal loose cannon; and Charlie Hunnam is, well, the one whose British accent slips out way too often.
The robbery goes awry and the film changes up from the heist genre to more of a survival tale, some of which is absurd, but most of it is entertaining and suspenseful. The film is co-written by Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty) and J.C. Chandor (A Most Violent Year), who also directed.
This is far from a perfect film, but it has enough going for it to make action-adventure fans happy – as long as they don’t do any post-film Google Earth reconnaissance. Grade: 6.5/10