I have been waiting so long to see Triple Threat. The idea of Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais in a movie together is mouth-watering, how good was this going to be?
Well, as with a lot of things in life when your expectations are high, it’s rather a disappointment when you get down to it.
Whilst the story is hashed together and characters are as thin as the paper they’re written on, that’s generally fine as that’s not why you’re watching a movie like this. What you’re looking for, the expectation, is that the fight scenes are going to be jaw dropping, eye-popping, brutal and fast, and there will be quite a few of them.
Sadly, Triple Threat never reaches the giddy heights of promise you expect. The fights are slow, whilst in the early days of kung-fu movies Western audiences thought the fight scenes were sped-up, here it looks like they’ve slowed them down.
The movie is also packed with guns, which I guess answers the question a lot of people have when watching modern kung-fu films (kung-fu being a generic term here, most of this particular film is muay-thai), that of “why doesn’t anyone just shoot him?”, I say it answers it, it doesn’t. There’s a scene in which Tiger Hu Chen (“Kung Fu Traveler“, “Man Of Tai Chi”), takes a machine gun off a bad-guy, but uses it like a stick to the bad-guys knife?!?
Despite the plethora of weapons involved, mostly from the bad-guys: Scott Adkins (“Doctor Strange“, “Grimsby”), Michael Jai White (“Arrow (TV)”, “Black Dynamite (TV)”), Michael Bisping (“Den Of Thieves“, “XXX: Return Of Xander Cage”), JeeJa Yanin (“Chocolate”, “The Kick”), Ron Smoorenburg (“Who Am I?”, “Enter The Warriors Gate“), no-one seems to be able to hit anyone else unless their ten-feet away, or surplus to requirements. Whilst Yanin walks round with what looks like a Milkor Multiple Grenade Launcher yet regularly fires it at targets a couple of feet away from her.
Having said all that, there are some good fights, mostly from Tiger Hu Chen as Uwais, weirdly, just keeps getting his ass handed to him and Jaa is somewhere in between. On the dark side it is Adkins who stands out by a country mile, able to hold his own against Jaa, Uwais and Hu Chen, at the same time in one scene.
JeeJa Yanin is absolutely wasted, she gets one small fight with Uwais, if you haven’t seen Chocolate, I urge you to seek it out and read-up about the training and preparation she did for the movie, none of which is on show here.
White is meant to be menacing but he just comes across as slow and sweaty (I mean, context here, I’m not tackling him, but, you know) whilst Bisping reminds me of watching the outtakes of Vinny Jones in his early acting career, and that’s not a compliment.
Jesse V. Johnson (“The Last Sentinel”, “Savage Dog”) directs the fights scenes in a way that allows us to see what is going on, you don’t miss a thing, which is great for the most part. However, and I honestly can’t believe I’m saying this, but given some of the fights are so slow, it may have been a good idea to introduce some shaky-ca…no, I can’t say it, it’s never good to introduce shaky-cam.
I really, really, really wanted to like Triple Threat. I was hoping for a hark back to movies like Chocolate, Ong-bak etc, something that would have me falling back in love with the incredible, jaw-dropping feats we’ve seen previously. Sadly, this was not the film I was looking for.