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Triple 9 Nothing More than a Poor Man's Training Day

  • Christa Banister Contributing Writer
  • 2016 25 Feb
<i>Triple 9</i> Nothing More than a Poor Man's <i>Training Day</i>

Editor's Note: This is Christa Banister's final review for After 10 years and roughly 500 reviews, we're so sad to see her go. Christa's love for Jennifer Lawrence and her uncanny ability to find just the right way to describe and differentiate Marvel movies will live on, as will her cheerful disdain for all things Nic(h)olas - Sparks and Cage. Please join us in wishing Christa well and thanking her for all her contributions to the Christian moviegoing community!


In an era where modern-day police ethics are regularly called into question, Triple 9 only fuels the fire as there's nary a good guy dressed in blue here. And anyway, the dirty cop thriller has been played far better, particularly in Training Day2 out of 5.


No strangers to backdoor deals and dangerous missions that ensure plenty of cash on the side, several members of the Atlanta P.D. are forced to pull off an extraordinarily difficult heist after being blackmailed by the Russian mafia. Of course these dirty cops have plenty of inside information, so they're hoping that manufacturing a "999," the distress signal for "officer down," will give them enough time to complete the task and, ultimately, spare their lives.

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What Works?

There's plenty of solid acting talent here, and Casey Affleck, in particular, does a decent job as the new officer who may just foil his co-workers' plans. And while Triple 9 doesn't always deliver with dialogue or the gigantic leaps in logic, the script is filled with enough double crosses and big plot twists to keep the viewer mildly intrigued for the duration.

What Doesn't?

There's just not much about Triple 9 that's original; this plot's been played far better in other movies and television shows. With police officers making news so much these days, there was an opportunity for a timely connection, one the writers never got around to. So okay, this film didn't want to make a statement. Even as a straight-up thriller, though, Triple 9 can't help but disappoint. Its climactic bank robbery scene was done to much scarier effect in The Dark Knight and The Town.

Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes

There's a strong sense of justice in how things wind up, but nothing overtly spiritual or faith-focused factors into Triple 9.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)

  • MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and language throughout, drug use and some nudity 
  • Language/Profanity: The f-word and its many variations is used throughout. God's name is misused, and there are several other four-letter words that show up.
  • Sexuality/Nudity: A scene in a strip club features several topless women and couples in various degrees of foreplay and sexual activity.
  • Violence/Frightening/Intense: Seven severed heads are displayed on a car. Lots of gunfire (some fatalities and blood shown), a couple of scenes involving strangulation, a deadly bank robbery, dangerous car chases and gang activity depicted.
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Cigarette smoking, social drinking, and, in what becomes something of a running joke, we see Sergeant Jeffrey smoke pot while on the job.

The Bottom Line

RECOMMENDED FOR: The rare individual who is neither easily offended nor expecting too much in the way of originality, but who enjoys a twisty thriller where the supposed good guy cops aren't actually that good at all.

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NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone who doesn't enjoy watching the grittier side of police work and all that entails (including the insinuation that we can't trust the police) with violence, seedy surroundings, gangs and compromised morals.

Triple 9, directed by John Hillcoat, opened in theaters February 26, 2016; available for home viewing May 31, 2016. It runs 115 minutes and stars Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Woody Harrelson, Teresa Palmer, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins Jr. and Kate Winslet. Watch the trailer for Triple 9 here.

Christa Banister is a Dallas-based freelance writer and the author of two novels she describes as "romantic comedies in novel form," Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. You can find out more about her current work in progress and the avid cook, traveler and Green Bay Packer fan at or by following her on Twitter (@ChristaBanister).

Publication date: February 25, 2016

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