How about some dirty cops, the Russian mafia and several high-stakes heists to kick off the post-Oscars movie season?

With Hollywood’s gaudiest of celebrations in the rearview mirror, “Triple 9” provides a gritty, action-filled thriller to get the heart pumping again.

The film tells the story of several crooked cops and former military personnel caught up in a scheme by Russian mafia members to perform a pair of robberies. Relationships are tested, loyalties are questioned and familial bonds are stressed in a complicated and interwoven narrative. 

“Triple 9” stars Chiwetal Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie and Casey Affleck. Woody Harrelson, Aaron Paul (of “Breaking Bad” fame), Kate Winslet and Norman Reedus all play significant contributing roles. The star-power in the acting lineup rivals the firepower of the movie’s explosive content. Seeing these actors working together makes for an entertaining flick, to say the least.

Marcus Belmont (Mackie) and Chris Allen (Affleck) are detectives and partners assigned to the toughest streets in Atlanta. Belmont isn’t exactly clean, however, as he runs around with Michael Atwood (Ejiofor), Russell Welch (Reedus) and Gabe Welch (Paul) performing the big-time bank robberies and other jobs. Winslet’s character, Irina Vlaslov, and Harrelson’s character, Jeffrey Allen, both weave into the story as the group becomes an intertwined mess of who is good, who is bad and who can you trust.

The plot twists and turns and I will refrain from telling any more than I must, but it certainly is enough to keep an audience member in their seat. I enjoyed trying to figure out and predict what would happen next, and subsequently realized I was completely fooled. Add in several exciting shootouts, car chases and explosions and this movie is suddenly pretty good.

As exciting as the buildup is, and as good as the actors are, “Triple 9” leaves something to be desired in its conclusion. It’s a very difficult thing to explain without exposing plot details, but I feel like a father explaining to his son, “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.” 

The denouement simply failed to live up to the drama of the rest of the film.

I blame the script and the writing of the film for my frustration. I enjoyed the buildup and climactic action of the film, but perhaps the bar was set at an unattainable level to conclude with. The actors all performed admirably, but it left me wishing for more. It was a surprise given the well-written, carefully-crafted storyline up until the last few scenes.

All this to say, “Triple 9” is still a worthy, and entertaining film. Facing off against “Eddie the Eagle” and “Gods of Egypt” — “Triple 9” is a far more interesting movie than either of those two. With the horribly reviewed “London Has Fallen” opening in theaters this weekend, “Triple 9” looks to be the best action movie for a second week in a row.

Due to the weaker conclusion, I’d wait until rental on “Triple 9”. Check out one of the films from the past several weeks, or save the money for your next trip to the theater. “Triple 9” is worth seeing, but not worth the hiked up prices of admission.

Whether you go to this one or not, embrace the shoot-em-up action genre “Triple 9” fits in — we are just starting a summer season full of those style films.

Contact David Dishman at 

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