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Film Review: Star-studded rumble in jungle packs powerful punch

Film Review: Star-studded rumble in jungle packs powerful punch

CHENNAI: As rumbles in the jungle go, the latest Netflix film “Triple Frontier” packs a powerful punch.

A star-studded cast including the likes of Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac and Pedro Pascal add weight to this nail-biting action adventure with an underlying message.

Director J. C. Chandor weaves a heist story with a difference, set in an unnamed American jungle. Loyalties are tested when five former special forces operatives reunite to steal a drug lord’s fortune, unleashing a chain of unintended events.

The script, written by Chandor and Mark Boal (“The Hurt Locker”), concentrates on the escape rather than the planning of the raid. And there lies the difference, because most movies in this genre tend to focus more on the run-up to the crime rather than its aftermath.

Santiago ‘Pope’ Garcia (Isaac) is the group’s leader and when an informant gives him a lead on a wealthy drug baron operating close to the “Triple Frontier” – a border zone between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil – he recruits his old Delta Force pals for one last assignment to make them all rich.

It is an unlikely crew. Tom ‘Redfly’ Davis (Affleck), is a divorcee struggling to sell condominiums, and the others include a pilot grounded for taking drugs, and a motivational speaker. Each one is driven by greed, and though they realize the greater good in being united, circumstances on their mission test their loyalties to one another to the limit.

However, what is most remarkable is how Chandor and Boal lead their story to an extremely touching climax.

“Triple Frontier” was to have been produced by Paramount and directed by Kathryn Bigelow (whose “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty” were superb). What is more, actors Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Mark Wahlberg and Mahershala Ali had all been in talks about joining the film’s cast. It is not clear why “Triple Frontier” landed with Netflix, although the production has been suitably altered to fit the small screen.

Brilliantly shot with the menacing jungles as the backdrop, “Triple Frontier” captures sequences – such as a crashing helicopter and a donkey slipping down a cliff to its death – in all their heart-pounding drama.

Perhaps a little too glossy for a plot of this kind the movie, while being loaded with messages about the shabby treatment of military veterans, is somewhat disappointing when it comes to the characterization of the men.

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