By: Trevor Chartrand
Directed by long-time stunt-coordinator Jesse V. Johnson, Triple Threat is an action-packed martial arts thriller that’s bound to scratch the itch for B-movie enthusiasts. It certainly meets the quota for punches thrown, shots fired, and bombs detonated.
Triple Threat tells the story of three mercenaries hell-bent on revenge against a terrorist organization, each for their own unique and personal reasons. In the film, jungle trackers Payu (Tony Jaa) and Long Fei (Tiger Chen) are recruited to assist a group of soldiers in rescuing POWs from an Indonesian jungle camp. When they get to the camp, they’re shocked to discover they’re only there for one prisoner: a vicious terrorist known only as Collins (Scott Adkins). Payu and Long Fei are betrayed by their team and locked away in the prison to die. During the village attack, a prison guard named Jaka (Iko Uwais) loses his wife in the shootout. Devastated, he teams up with Payu and Long Fei to exact a collective revenge against Collins and his team.
The action in Triple Threat is way over the top; your eyes will be rolling along with every head that rolls in this murder-a-minute thriller. The film boasts a talented cast of renowned martial arts actors, however the fight choreography is pretty standard, even sub-par, at best. The take-downs rarely appear real, with assailants often leaping out of the way of punches. At one point, when a villain runs out of ammunition, he throws his gun at the police officer chasing him. The officer catches the gun, holds it for a second… and then falls down for no reason, knocked out. I guess the force of the throw knocked him down? There’s a lot of moments like these throughout the film. When the villains do have ammo, they spray thousands of rounds at their targets but they never seem to hit a damn thing. The action sequences are all laughingly bad in a campy, b-movie sort of way. It works if that’s what you’re looking for, but as a sincere thriller, this movie severely misses its target.
Triple Threat is the kind of movie you would typically find in the bargain bin at the bottom of the pile. It’s silly action at its finest, and one of the better B-movies I’ve ever seen, however it is still just a goofy action movie at the end of the day. The narrative itself isn’t particularly stimulating. There aren’t many surprises along the way, and the characters all achieve their goals without much resistance. Everything is tied up in one neat little bow that’s all-too-perfect at the end. This film checks all the boxes required for its genre, but it doesn’t go much further than that. While Triple Threat is certainly fun to watch, it’s not the kind of film to take seriously.
Overall, this film is worth a watch on a Sunday afternoon if you’re searching for something mindless to pass the time. It’s bad in all the best possible ways, and guaranteed to entertain – as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into.
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Trevor Chartrand: @OhHaiTrebor