(USA) Action/Crime. Directed by John Hillcoat. Starring Anthony Mackie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, Woody Harrelson, Norman Reedus, Clifton Collins Jr., Kate Winslet, Gal Gadot. Category III. 115 minutes. Opened Jun 9. What do you feel like watching this summer? A high-octane heist caper? An ammo-fueled cops-n-robbers romp? A bloodsoaked cop drama? “Why not have ’em all?” is what director John Hillcoat must have been thinking when he shot “Triple 9.” For today’s short-attention-spanned cinemagoers, this film packs a taster of all of the above, stealing snippets from genre classics to fill its boots. Original? Perhaps not. But it’s all impeccably good fun.
The plot is one of the twistiest we’ve come across all year, serving its genre well. For the heist: Four men in downtown Atlanta break into a bank to steal what’s locked up in a security deposit box, whizzing out on a semi-botched getaway which causes a pile-up/shootout on a highway. We discover that this gang is headed up by a group of crooked cops (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie and Clifton Collins Jr.), with a getaway driver and the driver’s recently drug-free younger brother (Aaron Paul, TV’s “Breaking Bad”) in tow.
Why the robbery? Turns out it was a job for the Russian mafia. But matriarch Irina Vlaslov (a very badass and quietly terrifying Kate Winslet) isn’t done with them yet, and wants another heist pulled before she pays up.
Meanwhile, the cops are still doing their baddie-catching day jobs, which means working closer with the gangs of Atlanta than any straight cop would like. Echoing “Training Day,” Anthony Mackie’s crooked officer is handed a rookie