‘Triple Frontier’ review: Ben Affleck leads an all-star jungle heist

Triple Frontier’ adds flare to the masculine genre by incorporating moral and psychological underpinnings on brotherhood vs. greed.

In a time where gender inclusivity is a must, it might seem that the testosterone-driven Triple Frontier is a step back for the action genre. But really, who would complain with this macho powerhouse casting? In here, our gang of former military veterans consists of Redfly (Ben Affleck), a struggling real estate agent/divorced dad; Pope (Oscar Isaac), a private military contractor who serves as the brains of the operation; Ironhead (Charlie Hunnam), an inspirational speaker to Special Forces recruits; Benny (Garrett Hedlund), an MMA fighter; and Catfish (Pedro Pascal), a pilot who recently lost his license due to cocaine smuggling. Also, Hunnam and Hedlund play brothers in the film which is quite brilliant since they actually look a lot like.

The film spends the first half hour in reuniting the team for a one final, life-changing gig: to exterminate a drug lord named Lorea and seize his ill-gotten wealth of approximately $75 million for themselves. His base mansion is situated in the middle of a jungle and the crew must find a way to smuggle the cash through a perilous terrain known as the “Triple Frontier.” Hence, the film’s namesake.

(L-R): Pedro Pascal (Francisco “Catfish” Morales), Garrett Hedlund (Ben Miller), Charlie Hunnam (William “Ironhead” Miller), and Ben Affleck (Tom “Redfly” Davis).

While it feels wrong to see former military men violate their deep-sworn vows, the film gives a strong case to justify their actions. Considering they all have taken at least one bullet for their country, it seems unfair that society has not properly rewarded them – none of them are financially secure at their current retirement jobs. Triple Frontier has something to say on the state’s lack of regard towards veterans, as well as when it comes to re-examining our views on forcefully getting what we deserve. It’s a controversial moral gray area that the film utilizes to its benefit.

The narrative might seem like a cross between Ocean and Mission: Impossible franchise but the heist here is actually just a thin aspect. Infiltrating the drug lord’s compound is the easier task. When faced with tons of money, greed starts to consume our anti-heroes and before they know it, they’re out transporting a horde of cash via helicopter – way more than they agreed to steal. By not sticking to the plan, they’re suddenly faced with life and death dilemmas, none of which they have anticipated. Their brotherhood gets tested in fire and slowly, pieces of their humanity starts to peel off. As their situation grows more stressful and desperate, a tragic irony befalls: at some point, they might have to let go of the money for them to survive.

Oscar Isaac (Santiago “Pope” Garcia) and Ben Affleck (Tom “Redfly” Davis)

It’s a bold decision for director/co-writer J.C. Chandor to take an unconventional path of psychologically draining yet nevertheless, exhilarating survivalist flick. He knows how to heighten the suspense and tension with every obstacle that the group face, and Roman Vasyanov’s camerawork vividly captures the well-staged stunts and visceral setpieces. For a Netflix streaming release, Triple Frontier has the look and feel of a motion picture.

When it comes to individual characterization, there are some missed opportunities. With huge money involved, the script fails to delve into the personal motivations of some characters, apart from getting rich. Hence, we don’t really care for the money, as much as we care for their survival.

(L-R): Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal in ‘Triple Frontier.’

This is a film that greatly benefits from its main cast’s solid performance. Affleck has always been reliable in his brand of gloomy and understated acting while Isaac has also enough charisma in him so as not to be upstaged. Unfortunately, Hunnam, Hedland and Pascal get the shorter end of the sticks with thinner materials to work with. They eventually end up as stock characters who achieve depth mainly due to their great performances. Otherwise, the gang has a natural chemistry as a whole, making it feel like there’s a real sense of shared history present.

By incorporating thoughtful psychological and moral underpinnings on brotherhood vs. greed, Triple Frontier delivers a different level of firepower not present in typical high-octane action thrillers. This proves to have more brains than brawn. For that, the lack of feminine representation shall be excused.

4 out of 5 stars
Directed by J. C. Chandor and written by Mark Boal and J.C. Chandor, ‘Triple Frontier‘ stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal and Adria Arjona. Run time: 125 minutes.

Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law invite PH fans to watch ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’

Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law, stars of Warner Bros. Pictures’ new epic action adventure King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, greet “Mabuhay, Philippines!” as they invite Filipino fans to watch the film. Watch the clip below.

Directed by Guy Ritchie, King Arthur: Legend of the Swoerd stars Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Oscar nominee Jude Law, and Eric Bana. Ritchie directs the film from a screenplay by Joby Harold and Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram, story by Joby Harold.

The bold new story introduces a streetwise young Arthur who runs the back alleys of Londonium with his gang, unaware of the life he was born for until he grasps hold of the sword Excalibur—and with it, his future. Instantly challenged by the power of Excalibur, Arthur is forced to make some hard choices. Throwing in with the Resistance and a mysterious young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to master the sword, face down his demons and unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern, who stole his crown and murdered his parents, and become King.

Opening across the Philippines on May 17, 2017, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. 

WATCH: Trailer for ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ gets action-packed treatment

Guy Ritchie (“Sherlock Holmes”) brings his dynamic style to an original King Arthur epic in Warner Bros. Pictures’ sweeping fantasy action adventure “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” starring Charlie Hunnam. Watch the film’s first trailer below (launched at the recent San Diego Comic-Con).

Starring with Hunnam are Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Oscar nominee Jude Law, and Eric Bana. Ritchie directs the film from a screenplay by Joby Harold and Guy Ritchie & Lionel Wigram, story by Joby Harold.

The bold new story introduces a streetwise young Arthur who runs the back alleys of Londonium with his gang, unaware of the life he was born for until he grasps hold of the sword Excalibur—and with it, his future. Instantly challenged by the power of Excalibur, Arthur is forced to make some hard choices. Throwing in with the Resistance and a mysterious young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to master the sword, face down his demons and unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern, who stole his crown and murdered his parents, and become King.

The film is produced by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman, Joby Harold, Tory Tunnell, Lionel Wigram, Guy Ritchie and Steve Clark-Hall. David Dobkin and Bruce Berman are executive producers. Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Weed Road/Safehouse Pictures Production, a Ritchie/Wigram Production.

Slated for release beginning in March 2017 across the Philippines, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

MOVIE REVIEW: Crimson Peak (2015)

CRIMSON PEAK (2015, US)
Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain,  Charlie Hunnam, and Jim Beaver
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins

crimson peak movie

Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is a watchable gothic fantasy romance teeming with marvelous production design and a strikingly self-aware tale that laughs at its own tropes while making sure that every detail is highlighted even if put into the background.

The horror it creates is something that we have seen before: ghosts lurking in a haunted house, but the craft in making all these things more than what they appear is an aspect not to be taken out of consideration. Every shot and every movement are intricate as if there is no more breathing space for ad lib.

Crimson Peak tells the story of young Edith (played by the gorgeous Mia Wasikowska) as she marries the seductive aristocrat, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who brings her to his remote gothic mansion in the English hills. Also residing in the ancient house is his attractive sister, Lady Lucille (Jessica Chastain), who has the best kept secrets on the family’s roots. Edith has the power to communicate with the dead and so she attempts to uncover the mystery of her new home. She is able to see visions that points to the ghastly embodiment of the mansion itself.

Del Toro is able to showcase yet again the vibe of Pan’s Labyrinth–without the costumes and prosthetics–only this time it is more gruesome and more horrifying, all through a satisfying buildup that makes up for a large impact by the end. Having also directed Hellboy and Pacific Rim, there is much advancement to the creepiness that sinks in deep with every swift of the camera, which essentially makes Crimson Peak worth the ridiculous bloodbaths.

When the phrase “visually stunning” does not suffice for gore, we can all just refer to this alluring film.

Crimson Peak movie poster

Charlie Hunnam journeys from ‘Pacific Rim’ to ‘Crimson Peak’

British actor Charlie Hunnam (“Pacific Rim,” TV’s “Sons of Anarchy”) stars as brilliant man of science, Dr. Alan McMichael, who is ruled by his heart as much as his head…and consumed by a fascination with the supernatural, in Universal Pictures’ suspense thriller Crimson Peak. Continue reading “Charlie Hunnam journeys from ‘Pacific Rim’ to ‘Crimson Peak’”