Greed Proves to Be the Biggest Danger in Netflix Action Thriller ‘Triple Frontier’

“Hurt Locker” screenwriter Mark Boal teams up with “A Most Violent Year” director J.C. Chandor for “Triple Frontier,” an Netflix original action thriller about a group of military vets who undertake a dangerous mission in South America. The title refers to the triple frontier between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, the current location of Santiago “Pope” Garcia (Oscar Isaac), a special forces operative who went to South America (the homeland of his mother) following his military service in hopes of making a difference by taking on the underworld. It is from his informant/girlfriend Yovana (Adria Arjona) that he learns of cartel kingpin Loria (Reynaldo Gallegos) holed up in the jungle with a house full of millions. Pope decides to strike, and to accomplish this he flies back to the states to round up his boys, fellow vets left behind by their country, including failed real estate agent Tom “Redfly” Davis (Ben Affleck).

Although Affleck never served in the military or sold condos, he probably didn’t have to dig deep to understand his character, a downtrodden divorced dad. After some initial reluctance, Redfly agrees to go along with Pope, the lure of of all that money being too much for a man who has been struggling to stay afloat in the years since his discharge. This is the recurring theme here, one that Pope touches on over and over, that those who have given their best years to the military often find themselves left behind, or spat out, as he puts it.

Charlie Hunnam co-stars as William “Ironhead” Miller, an Army recruiter who talks a lot about honor. But even he has a price, as does his brother, Ben (Garrett Hedlund), a boxer who wants a break from getting hit in the head. Pedro Pascal rounds out the cast as Francisco “Catfish” Morales, a pilot who lost his license after being busted with coke. Fortunately, this doesn’t matter in a mission like Pope’s.

Boal and Chandor are relentless when it comes to throwing obstacle after obstacle at their heroes, and by the second half  “Triple Frontier” turns into an overblown action flick, complete with multiple B-movie tropes. Highlights include the men trying to stuff millions of dollars into a small helicopter, ultimately risking their own lives for cold, hard cash. Eventually, they are forced to lug the loot themselves through the Andes. Animal lovers be forewarned, their is a disturbing scene (CGI, or course) involving an unfortunate mule.

At the end of it all, “Triple Frontier” contains a not-so-subtle moral about the dangers of greed, as the men are weighed down by their materialism, both literally and figuratively, and their own decisions put them in more danger than any gun-wielding thug ever could. While serious subjects pertaining to the plight of post-9/11 vets are explored, overall this is a guilty pleasure made for the age of streaming services.

Triple Frontier” begins streaming March 13 on Netflix.