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THE REEL: Triple Frontier

Monday June 3 2019

US actor Ben Affleck stars in Triple Frontier. AFP/ FILE

US actor Ben Affleck stars in Triple Frontier. AFP/ FILE  

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I watched Triple Frontier on the recommendation of an acquaintance.

The poster promised serious military type action and the movie didn’t disappoint on that frontier (pun intended) but it also surprised me by its unexpected tenderness and moral dilemma.

Starring Ben Affleck (Tom ‘Redfly’ Davis), Charlie Hunnam (William Ironhead Miller) amongst others, Triple Frontier is an action movie that tells the story of former Special Forces operatives who get together to use their skills to steal money from a notorious drug lord deep in the South American Jungle.


In the beginning, we are introduced to the former Special Forces team, who are now integrated into civilian life with mixed results.

Tom is a realtor with limited success and is divorced from his wife and helps to co-parent his daughter. In his past life in the Special Forces, he was the head of the unit and commanded a lot of respect for his skills.


The other members are also not doing too well for themselves either, having to make do with whatever available job they get their hands on.

A former member of the team Santiago (Oscar Isaac) who is still in the service, is on a mission to stop a vicious drug cartel and dismantle its empire that is wreaking havoc in a multi-border zone of South America.

The cartel is able to operate due to the code of silence that the citizens of the town operate in out of fear of the harrowing consequences of co-operating with the authorities to bring the cartel down.

Frustrated by yet another lost chance of capturing the elusive cartel leader, Santiago hatches an idea to steal from him and reduce his influence and hopefully stop his activities.


Santiago reaches out to his old team mates, aware of their skills and the reality of their low financial status.

He is persuasive enough to get the team to go on a reconnaissance mission to determine the viability of the plan and once they understand and see what they are up against, they decide to go ahead with the plan.

However, Tom makes it clear that the mission is off the books, a personal one and if they are caught, they cannot rely on the government to come to their rescue, basically it’s a black operation (Black Ops).

The movie is set in the jungles of South America and we see the harsh terrain that the team has to go through to get to their target.

The drug lord has built his mansion deep in the jungle which provides excellent cover for him. The team is well-trained to deal with such harsh weather and their training and instincts kick in instantly once their mission starts.

However, they meet many unexpected situations that are compounded by the different mental states that the team members are in.


The team is assisted by Yovanna (Adria Arjona) a CI (confidential informant) of Santiago. She strikes a deal with him that in exchange for assisting him with information on the cartel, he will evacuate her and her brother out of the country as it will be dangerous for her to continue to stay in it.

She enables the team to get accurate information about the location of the drug lord’s house, his security detail and she is able to help them prepare their getaway plan for after the raid.

Unfortunately, the well laid plan crumbles as Tom is engulfed by greed and deviates from it when he sees the amount of money that the drug lord has stored in the house, he completely loses his focus, going against his training and the other team member’s pleas to stick to their foolproof plan.

This deviation proves costly and the team ends up fleeing, having to forego part of the loot, engaging in a firefight and getting a team member injured.

From then on, it’s a hasty game against time which leads to costly decisions that end up with a fatality for the team.

The well laid plans of mice and men often go awry and where greed comes into play, expect disastrous consequences.