Movies & TV / Reviews

Triple Threat Review

March 23, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Triple Threat
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Triple Threat Review  

Triple Threat Review

Iko Uwais– Jaka
Tony Jaa– Payu
Tiger Chen– Long Fei
Celina Jade– Xian
Scott Adkins– Collins
Michael Jai White– Devereaux
Michael Bisping– Joey
JeeJa Yanin– Mook
Ron Smoorenburg– Steiner
Dominique Vandenberg– Dom
Daniel Whyte– Agent Brown

Directed by Jesse V. Johnson
Screenplay by Joey O’Bryan, alongside co-writers Fangjin Song, Jian Huang, Sheldon Pang, and Lei Yan

Rated R for strong violence throughout and for language
Runtime– 96 minutes



Triple Threat, directed by Jesse V. Johnson, is an all-star action epic that more than lives up to the hype. Featuring a virtual who’s who of modern international badass action stars, it is the movie that action movie nerds the world over have been waiting for. If, for some reason, some action movie nerds haven’t been waiting for Triple Threat, well, I seriously question their alleged love for cinematic gun battles, car chases, explosions, and real deal martial artists beating the crap out of one another. Yes, it really is one of those kinds of movie events.

The movie stars Iko Uwais as Jaka, a man seeking revenge for the death of his wife and his entire village at the hands of a band of mercenaries that were sent into Jaka’s village to retrieve Collins (Scott Adkins), a big deal criminal merc that was being held in an underground cell by the UK’s MI6. After getting Collins out of the village’s hole in the ground jail, the mercenary team, led by Devereaux (Michael Jai White) and Joey (Michael Bisping), shoot everyone and then blow the place up. Well, two members of the mercenary team don’t participate in this violence, as they had no idea that the mercenary team they were working with was a mercenary team. In fact, the two holdouts, Payu (Tony Jaa) and Long Fei (Tiger Chen), thought they were working for the good guys and were on a humanitarian mission of sorts. When they refuse to participate, Payu and Long Fei are beaten up and left for dead. Payu and Long Fei don’t stay down for long and manage to get out of the village, with as many people as they can, before it all goes up in a ball of flames. Pissed that that they were hoodwinked into working for a band of criminal scumbags, Payu and Long Fei come up with a scheme of their own to exact revenge on Collins and the others. Jaka, meanwhile, concocts his own plan to track down Collins, Devereaux, and the others and take them out.

Now, why was it so important to break Collins out of MI6 custody? A big deal criminal organization needs Collins and his team of killers to kidnap and kill a woman named Xian (Celina Jade), who just so happens to be the daughter of a Chinese billionaire that wants to do business in Singapore, I think (I’m still a little confused on the details here. They’re really not that important, in the big scheme of things, but I like to know this stuff).

So Collins and his team plan their big hooha kidnapping scheme for right in the middle of a major Singapore city’s downtown, right after Xian finishes with a local media interview where she explains why her family is getting involved in the community. It’s a bold plan as it involves a full on assault on the street in full view of the public, but, dammit, Collins and his team are experts at this kind of thing.

Before all of that happens, though, we see Payu, Long Fei, and Jaka putting their own schemes into place. Shockingly, their schemes actually involve the same things. See, Payu and Long Fei engage in underground fighting to make enough money so they can buy the kinds of weapons and supplies and whatnot they’ll need to take on the Collins team. Jaka decides to do the exact same thing in the exact same underground fighting arena and, eventually, they come together to fight for a common purpose. Now, it all doesn’t go down as easily as I’ve described, as Jaka isn’t as reliable as Payu and Long Fei in terms of being a hero. Jaka is kind of underhanded and secretive about what he and he alone plans to do, despite his having the same goal as Payu and Long Fei. In fact, Jaka’s big plan is messed up (he gets Payu and Long Fei arrested).

So Collins and his team try to kidnap Xian and, while they kill a bunch of cops and security guards and whatnot, Xian manages to escape and get to the same police station where Payu and Long Fei happen to be. Collins and the remaining members of his team then set out for the police station to get Xian and Payu and Long Fei (Collins finds out they’re alive from his handlers and decides right then and there to take down all three at the same time). It’s going to be brutal, bloody, and nasty, but then that’s what Collins and his team are all about. And when Collins and his team arrive at the police station, oh, man, the shit is on.

To say that Triple Threat delivers the action movie goods would be a serious understatement. Right from the beginning you know that director Johnson and his assembled cast aren’t messing around, and that lack of messing around only escalates as the movie progresses. There’s a terrific mix of shootouts, explosions, car chases, and hand-to-hand fights, all of them expertly handled and exciting as hell. After the insanity of the police station attack you’re not sure if the movie is going to be able to top it (a character gets blown up with a grenade launcher and we see it all on screen. All of it) and yet, somehow, it does.

Triple Threat also has some nifty buddy movie sequences where Payu, Long Fei, and Xian are on the run from Collins and his team, hiding out in closed businesses and hoping the killers look for them somewhere else. There’s a great scene where Payu, Long Fei, and Xian hide out in a closed restaurant and they start cooking food in the kitchen. I mean, would you stop and make yourself dinner if you knew that a heavily armed and jacked as all hell Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, and Michael Bisping were looking for you? You wouldn’t, obviously, but then when you’re Tony Jaa and Tiger Chen you can do it because you’re, well, Tony Jaa and Tiger Chen.

What’s also amazing about Triple Threat is, at 95 minutes, it never feels rushed. When the movie isn’t in full on badass mode it allows the action stars to have their “quiet” moments and you get a good sense of who these people are, both heroes and villains. None of the main stars really get shorted in terms of screen time. With the assembled star power that’s a tall order, to be sure, but director Johnson makes sure everyone gets their moments outside of the machine guns, grenades, and punches and kicks. I think you’ll enjoy seeing who all of these people are, even if you don’t really care for some of them in the end.


Iko Uwais does a great job as Jaka, the man who wants revenge for the death of his wife and village. His story is heartbreaking (there’s a sequence where Jaka has to bury his dead wife and fellow villagers that is just emotionally brutal). Jaka’s ultimate plan will keep you guessing. You know that he isn’t in league with Collins and his team, but you’re curious as to how he’s going to reveal his true self to them right up until the end of the movie. He’s one of those kinds of characters. I think you’ll dig his choices. Hopefully, this movie helps make Uwais an even bigger action star as the man is a real deal talent.

Tony Jaa is excellent as Payu, one of the mercenaries who feels betrayed. He’s a badass fighter, sure, but he’s also funny when he needs to be. Payu is also quite the cook, as he fixes food for his friend Long Fei and Celina Jade’s Xian throughout the movie. Who the heck would have thought they would see that in a movie like Triple Threat? Jaa also, as usual, is superb in his fight scenes. Awesome stuff from The Protector.

Tiger Chen sort of starts out as a sidekick type character as Long Fei, but he shows that he’s a hero and he can go alongside guys like Uwais and Jaa. He is so badass in the underground fight sequence. Out of the cast, I’m the least familiar with Chen. I’m going to make an effort to rectify that and see more of his movies. That movie he did with Keanu Reeves, Man of Tai Chi, is top of the list.

Celina Jade shows how resourceful she can be as the billionaire’s daughter Xian. She doesn’t really get to engage in the action star stuff with the other cast members, but she knows how to survive a tough situation. Jade is also gorgeous, which is not a bad thing at all.

On the villain side of things, Scott Adkins is fucking awesome as Collins. Collins is a total dick from the second you see him, and while you don’t necessarily like him you can’t stop watching him. You want to see just how much of a dick he’s going to be throughout the movie. Adkins, once again, shows that he can act and be charismatic alongside kicking ass and taking names. Action movie nerds know this, but when will the rest of the world figure it out? Check out the scene where Collins jumps onto the hood of a moving car. Insane.

Michael Jai White is hilarious as Devereaux, the badass mercenary who gives new meaning to the idea of sarcasm. Devereaux is a dick like Collins, but in a different way. Collins doesn’t come off as a threat when he’s in full on dick mode. Devereaux, though, is the scariest dude in the group, and he uses that to his advantage. Jai White’s best scenes, though, involve his response to someone calling him “out of shape” (I don’t think Michael Jai White could exist as an out of shape being even if he ate a dozen donuts at each meal for a year. He’s just too jacked to have that happen) and the one little scene where he’s shopping for DVD’s at a street fair. What the hell kind of mercenary does that? One played by Michael Jai fucking White.

Michael Bisping is scary as Joey but scary in a different way than the others. Just like Collins and Devereaux, Joey is jacked and a beast with guns and martial arts, but he comes off as a little more openly happy about being a bastard. You can tell, just by the way he stands in some scenes, that Joey has the devil in him and it’s not a good thing at all.

JeeJa Yanin is terrifying as Mook, the female mercenary with the, I guess, mega shotgun that looks like a grenade launcher. She doesn’t really need that weapon to take you out, but, dammit, she’s going to use it anyway and it’s not going to end well for you. I think you’ll be shocked by what happens to her in the course of the movie. I know I jumped out of my seat when I saw it.

And be on the lookout for Dominique Vandenberg and Ron Smoorenburg, two deadly as hell dudes who get some nice scenes as members of the mercenary team. Smoorenburg is a monster with an M60.

Triple Threat is a terrific, all-star action extravaganza. It’s a movie that action movie nerds need to embrace, and I suspect that, once they know about it, they will. It’s 96 minutes of pure action movie nirvana. There are shootouts, things explode, and real deal action stars duke it out in truly epic fight sequences. Triple Threat is the action movie the action movie nerd world has been waiting for. I can’t recommend this movie enough. It’s an action masterpiece of the highest order.

See Triple Threat. See it, see it, goddamn see it!


So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: If it’s less than 50 I’ll be shocked.

Explosions: Multiple, both big and small.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: An international airport, a jungle somewhere, attempted use of electronics out in the jungle, some serious neck stabbing and neck breaking, mega machine gun attack, grenade launcher attack, exploding building, multiple grenade attacks, M60 hooey, shotgun hooey, more neck breaking, cigar smoking, multiple exploding huts, dead body burying, elephants, underground fighting, flying double knee, multiple ass kickings, food eating, a sort of flashback, a police raid, a news interview, a full on police massacre, exploding door, computer monitor to the face, brass knuckle attack, exploding human body, serious crate breaking, shoe issues, a lack of interest in following orders, attempted police arrest, attempted car driving, food cooking, beer drinking, a room full of guns and knives and whatnot, silencer hooey, even more neck breaking, a big shootout, multiple final showdown showdowns, cinder block to the side of the head, jagged metal rod through the back, a wicked double kick, kicking a man through a stone wall, banister hooey, double knife to the chest, and very cool final “people walking in slow motion” sequence.

Kim Richards?: Maybe, In the village. Off screen.

Gratuitous:Celina Jade, Tony Jaa, Tiger Chen, Michael Jai White, “and Scott Adkins,” Michael Bisping, cigar smelling, Iko Uwais, Iko Uwais fighting Tony Jaa, a thermite cutter, Scott Adkins with a mega beard, a guy riding an elephant, underground fighting, a Hyundai mini-van that doesn’t look big enough to hold Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, and Michael Bisping, Scott Adkins trying to look inconspicuous, a brief discussion on whether or not cars have genders, Scott Adkins wearing a leather coat, Michael Jai White accused of being out of shape, Scott Adkins jumping onto the hood of a moving car, some random guy taking out the garbage, Michael Jai White buying DVD’s from a street vendor, Michael Jai White asking Iko Uwais what he is, working the kinks out of your joints before you fight a guy, Singapore, and a very cool final “people walking in slow motion” sequence.

Best lines: “That thing won’t work out here,” “Time to ruin your day. We’re in business,” “What I’d tell you? Watch your six. Pay attention,” “Don’t shoot! We’re with the Americans!,” “Hey, leave that alone,” “Forgive me for what I have to do. I have no choice,” “Remember me? I remember you. You killed my wife. For this I will kill you,” “We need to talk,” “This place reminds me of Boy Scout camp,” “To new friends,” “You have a message for Collins you can talk to me,” “You take me to the nicest places,” “It’s not a donation. It’s an investment in the future,” “Sone of a bitch!,” “Shit,” “This is turning into a real fucking shit show!,” “I haven’t got time for this,” “Payu. Thank you for saving me,” “Remind me and the lads why we need you again?,” “It looks like you passed inspection,” “This is actually really delicious,” “I know what shooters are,” “Payu, don’t forget what I said. We’re even,” “This ends tonight,” “Why don’t you come over here, darling? I promise to make it quick,” “The Indonesians you killed were my people. I buried my wife because of you. This is personal,” “That’s the dumbest thing you’ll never live to regret,” “You sneaky little bastard!,” “Jesus Christ! Why the fuck is it so hard to kill one little Chinese girl?,” “Talk, talk, talk. No more talk,” and “I told you. I had a plan. Good plan. We almost died. Next time you get shot.”

The final score: review Virtually Perfect
The 411
Triple Threat is an all-star action movie epic from action director extraordinaire Jesse V. Johnson. Featuring a real deal who’s who of badass international action stars, it’s the movie action movie nerds have been waiting for. It’s packed with shootouts, explosions, car chases, and some of the most exciting hand-to-hand fights in recent action cinema history. It’s damn near perfect on every level imaginable. If you’re an action movie fan, good God, you need to make an effort to see Triple Threat. I can’t recommend this movie enough. See Triple Threat! See it! See it! See it!

article topics :

Triple Threat, Bryan Kristopowitz