Triple Threat (2018)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 5/27/19
Director: Jesse Johnson
Cast: Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Tiger Chen, Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Celina Jade, Michael Bisping, Jeeja Yanin, cameo by Michael Wong

A rich heiress becomes a target for a hit squad led by a mean and nasty Scott Adkins, but he has to be busted out of a jungle prison first. Payu (Tony Jaa), Long-Fei (Tiger Chen), and Jaka (Iko Uwais) survive the raid and plan revenge. They also unwittingly rescue Xian (Celina Jade), which keeps the bad guys from completing their mission. Everything comes to a head when the opposing teams arrange to air their differences at an abandoned mansion.

The underlying theme of the movie seems to be "Don't donate to charity, or else local crime syndicates will kill you." The cast is a dream team of martial arts stunt performers, so it's easy to set unrealistic expectations. The story is simple, but serviceable, and doesn't require a lot of dialog. That works to the film's advantage, since the three leads are non-native English speakers. In fact, Tony Jaa makes several amusing comments about the bad guys talking too much, which also works as a clever jab at Western cinema in general. The fight scenes are quite good, but not as plentiful as one would hope. The cinematography is good, but some of the energy and flow is lost in the overly aggressive editing. Everyone gets to show off their particular strengths, which demonstrates a nice collection of different fighting styles. The only disappointment is Jeeja Yanin, who only has one brief exchange with Uwais before meeting her gruesome demise. This seems to fall in line with the film's general attitude towards women, as they tend to be treated as background elements. If testosterone fueled martial arts action movies are your thing, then "Triple Threat" is bound to please.