‘Triple Frontier’ review: Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam lead a packed cast in tough action film

From left: Ben Affleck, Oscar Issac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal star in "Triple Frontier."
From left: Ben Affleck, Oscar Issac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal star in "Triple Frontier." Photo Credit: @LICWalkers

‘Triple Frontier’

Directed by J.C. Chandor

Starring Oscar Isaac,  Adria Arjona, Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam

Rated R

The testosterone flows in "Triple Frontier" as steadily as it has in any recent movie this side of Sylvester Stallone’s "Expendables" trilogy.

This new action flick, directed by J.C. Chandor ("All is Lost") and co-written by Chandor and "Hurt Locker" Oscar winner Mark Boal, is so filled with tough men doing tough things that it occasionally dips into self-parody.

Fortunately, scenes that indulge in this territory — such as one in which the main characters, all former Delta Force members, reunite to watch one of them take part in a low-end MMA bout — come and go rather quickly. The same goes for some digressions into preening, macho dialogue.

That’s so the movie, which is streaming on Netflix and playing a limited theatrical run, can get right to the point of setting its simple, yet effective plot in motion.

Oscar Isaac’s Santiago "Pope" Garcia, working as a private adviser in the thick of the South American drug fight, rounds up the boys (characters played by Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam and Garrett Hedlund) so that they can collectively bust into the jungle home of a kingpin named Loera and take him for all that he’s worth.

The movie charts the operation and its aftermath with the same sort of economic storytelling that Chandor and Boal have specialized in. They move things along without becoming bogged down in moments that distract from the fundamental, visceral essence of the experience.

The action scenes have scope and texture, often utilizing the perspectives of the characters to offer a sense of visual depth and never deviating to the sort of superhuman feats of strength we’ve become accustomed to seeing in this genre.

Everyone involved in this movie is about a step or two above the material, which is fundamentally pulp. That includes, of course, the actors. From Isaac to Hunnam, they invest their characters with richer human qualities than the story probably required. That gives "Triple Frontier" and bit of added credibility, even if the movie’s also a little bit dumb.

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