A gang of criminals and corrupt cops whom are firmly in the pocket of the Russian mafia are forced to undertake an uncomfortably large heist job. They realise that the only way they can possibly pull off such a job is by killing a police officer and thus causing a “triple 9” situation in which all officers rush to said area, leaving the rest unguarded.
Triple 9 is a crime thriller that unfortunately lives its life in Michael Mann’s shadow. And while I think it is a very decent and enjoyable thriller, I think most of the negative reviews can be explained by it just not being a Mann film. It doesn’t have the same kind of visual strength or character strength as a Mann film, however I think if you for just under two hours forget that you’ve seen Heat you’ll have a pretty damn good time.
It’s a common, and maybe even cliché, piece of praise given to these sort of movies to say that the location is another character. But in Triple 9 it really is. You really feel like you are there in the gritty underbelly of Atlanta full of opposing gangs and hatred for the police. It’s also pleasantly nasty in that most of the violence is quite rightfully hard to watch.
The film falls short in the department of emotional engagement. I was never bored throughout the film, the many plot twists and developments kept me interested but I never properly engaged with most of the characters. I only really felt for Anthony Mackie’s character and his plight. But I think Triple 9’s strongest asset is the way it will kill any character at will. You never know where you stand and that is excellent.
Overall, Triple 9 while not Heat is a very decent crime thriller.