On the surface, Triple Frontier appears to be the sloppy result of Netflix taking a Buzzfeed quiz along the lines of “We’ll Tell You Which Exotic Location To Film Your Movie In Based On Your Choice in Men,” choosing Oscar Isaac, Ben Affleck, Garrett Hedlund, Charlie Hunnam, and Pedro Pascal, and ending up with Colombia. The beginning of the movie, released by the streaming service on March 13, is quite rocky; the characters' background stories are hastily slapped together and the script itself is a bit dry. However, approximately twenty–five minutes in, the plot begins to quickly unravel and the audience is able to see the movie for what it truly is: the adrenaline–inducing love child of Narcos, Ocean’s 11, and Survivor.
It all starts with the classic “getting the band back together”–style scramble on the part of Oscar Isaac, who plays Santiago "Pope" Garcia. Santiago works as a private military advisor in Colombia, frustrated by his lack of career prestige and low pay grade. To remedy his misery, he devises a mission to rob a Colombian drug lord named Lorea of his multi–million dollar fortune. After a great deal of half–assed pleading, Santiago manages to convince his four equally bumming ex–military buddies (Affleck, Hedlund, Hunnam, and Pascal) to join him. They wager that, with their combined military expertise, it shouldn’t be all that difficult to pull off the heist and walk away as millionaires. The only catch is that they “are not wearing the flag on their backs”—that is to say, the U.S. government is not providing any support and, in fact, is not even aware that they are attempting to murder and steal from a wanted Colombian drug lord. What could go wrong, right?
After a shaky build–up to the heist, the gang finds themselves in Lorea’s family compound, racing against the clock to find the hidden fortune. Initially, they scrupulously avoid causing any casualties—except Lorea, of course—but after a series of unfortunate events the murders begin to mount up. Eventually, they discover the location of the millions of dollars and leave the compound relatively unscathed and 250 million dollars richer. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as driving off into the sunset with all of the money—they must transport the fortune, which is physically heavy and generally conspicuous, to an offshore bank via helicopter. Without giving any more away, let’s just say that nothing goes as planned. By mid—movie, it’s impossible not to wonder what the real value of all of the money is—is it worth the sacrifice of their values, dignities, and lives?
Overall, the movie delivers in more ways than just one. If you’re looking for an action–packed thriller, this flick is sure to keep your heart rate up throughout the treacherous saga. On a deeper level, the movie compels its viewers to decide for themselves when to draw the line, and what constitutes the true cost of money. To top it all off, the film features a wide array of aerial shots of distinctly South American natural beauty, including the Andes Mountains, rainforests, and coastal highlands. Shots of Oscar Isaac are pretty nice too. In short, if action–adventure–thriller–heist movies featuring an extensive cast of sexy men are your thing, what are you waiting for?