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  Triple Threat Revengers Assemble!
Year: 2019
Director: Jesse V. Johnson
Stars: Tony Jaa, Tiger Hu Chen, Iko Uwais, Scott Adkins, Celina Jade, Michael Jai White, Michael Bisping, Jeeja Yanin, Dominiquie Vandenberg, Ron Smoorenberg, Monica Siu-Kei Mok, Guangbei Zhang, Sile Zhang, Anthony Tai, Daniel Whyte, Jennifer Qi Jun Yang
Genre: Action, Thriller, Martial ArtsBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Xiao Xian (Celina Jade) is the daughter of a billionaire, therefore has the funds to take on the people she really wants to tackle: the crime syndicates in East Asia. However, it is no surprise to learn there are those who are intent on scuppering her plans, and she has become a target of powerful evildoers who would like nothing more than to have her assassinated. Meanwhile, mercenaries Long Fei (Tiger Hu Chen) and Payu (Tony Jaa) have been caught up in what they initially believed was a humanitarian operation, but quickly discover it was a mission to free the villainous Collins (Scott Adkins), then torch the jungle village he was held prisoner in, at the cost of dozens of lives...

Some called Triple Threat the action genre's answer to Marvel's Avengers movies given the manner in which they teamed up popular stars from each and used them altogether in the same plot, but really there was a better analogy to be had, and that was Sylvester Stallone's Expendables series, which united action stars of yesteryear, who if they were still working were largely consigned to the straight to video or streaming market, to join forces and combine their box office potential for a bonanza of ticket sales, and in an actual theatre into the bargain, none of your sitting about at home with a beer and pizza audience here, nope, people genuinely went out to cinemas to watch them.

Well, some audiences did, but the fact remained the beer 'n' pizza crowd were more than likely the main source of income for these productions, much as they had been back in the eighties. Certainly in the West, that was the case for Triple Threat, as the stars from those parts of the globe were notably not those who would headline blockbusters, though the Asian members of the cast were draws in their homeland. Did this mean Scott Adkins was a bigger celebrity in China than he was in his native Britain? Possibly, yeah, it did, for he was sharing the screen with big names like Jade and Jaa, not to mention Iko Uwais who showed up early on when his character's wife was murdered.

Murdered by the mercenaries played by Adkins, Michael Jai White and MMA champion Michael Bisping, here trying to forge a career in his co-stars' footsteps as many a real-life fighter had before him. Nobody was going to mistake him for an accomplished thespian, but he made up the baddies' trio which was necessary to match the goodies' trio when they all paired off at the end for individual one-on-one punch-ups. The plot was pretty scrappy in the early stages, but came together to have the three Asian stars protecting Xian who they assist in escaping one of those assassination attempts; she was not presented as adept in self-defence herself, so needed the help of three trained martial artists to defend her, though they spent a fair bit of the setpieces simply firing pistols and machine guns.

The female stars were offered somewhat short shrift, none more so that Jeeja Yanin who showed up for about a minute of action, did not get to so much as flex her not-inconsiderable muscles, and was promptly destroyed by a rocket launcher. Was that any way to treat a lady? Fans who always wanted her to take her place in the pantheon of Asian action stars would be severely shortchanged, she had after all done just as much as Chen on the silver screen and he was second-billed; was she busy elsewhere and merely turned up in a token mascot role? Anyway, director Jesse V. Johnson opted for a thick slice of cheese rather than clever plotting or intricate twists, and as far as they went this was acceptable enough. Nevertheless, you felt the disappointment of many aficionados who were expecting more from a line-up such as this: the combat was fine, but no more than that, nothing spectacular for example. It did seem oddly perfunctory, as if they had signed their celebrities and the movie was an afterthought. Music by Joel J. Richard.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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