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Film / Triple Threat (2019)

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Triple Threat is a 2019 Martial Arts Action-Thriller directed by Jesse V. Johnson, starring Scott Adkins, Iko Uwais, Tony Jaa, Michael Jai White, Tiger Chen and Jeeja Yanin.

A villager loses his wife when a band of mercenaries massacre his village to free their leader; days later an heiress pledges money to charity in order to combat corruption, making her a target of said team of mercenaries, on behalf of a local mobster. Meanwhile, two of the mercenaries have taken up illegal boxing. Each path collides in a heated final confrontation.

These tropes don't just quit, do they?

  • The Atoner: Payu used to work for a mob boss before becoming a mercenary, and wants to overcome his past.
  • Bad Boss: Downplayed, in that Collins doesn't give a rat's ass about his subordinates outside of how useful they are to him.
  • The Bait: Jaka uses Payu and Long Fei to lure the other mercenaries into a trap.
  • Big Bad: Most of the conflict stems from Collins directly antagonizing Payu and Long Fei and trying to kill them, as well as target Xiao Xian. Additionally, Jaka wants vengeance against Collins and his crew, and is not involved with any conflict with Su Feng on any level.
  • Blood Knight: Collins is a bloodthirsty, yet highly competent combatant.
  • The Cameo: Michael Wong as "Old Man", an unnamed character who shows up in precisely one scene.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Collins claims not to have a soul, and comments that he didn't set out to be a murderer, but that he is good at it.
  • Cop Killer: Collins and his band of mercenaries massacre an entire police station while looking for Payu and Long Fei.
  • Crusading Widow: Jaka pursues the band of mercenaries in order to avenge his wife and his village.
  • Defector from Decadence: Payu and Long Fei abandoned Devereaux and Collins when they figured out that their mission was less than humanitarian.
  • Defiant to the End: The MI6 operative in the village refuses to cooperate with the mercenaries, and refuses to beg for his life when Collins kills him.
  • Doomed Hometown: Jaka's village is sacked by Devereaux and company on the orders of Collins, their leader, to release him from his prison.
  • Double Agent: Jaka pretends to align himself with Collins and his mercenary crew in order to gain their trust and destroy them, while assisting the defectors Payu and Long Fei.
  • The Dragon: Devereaux is the second in command to Collins. Like Collins, he is a ruthless individual, although where Collins is mostly cold and detached, Devereaux is more jovial and sarcastic; additionally, where Collins views his team as expendable, Devereaux genuinely seems to care both for his subordinates and his superior.
  • Due to the Dead: Jaka buries his wife, along with other villagers, after his village is massacred.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Almost every named character is proficient in martial arts to some degree, resulting in a large number of close quarters combat sequences.
  • Evil Brit: Collins, who was imprisoned for involvement in terrorist activities, has a British Accent.
  • Evil Laugh: Collins has a good chuckle over being asked if he remembers the last time his soul started slipping away. According to Collins, he has no soul.
  • A Father to His Men: As ruthless as he is, the mercenary second-in-command Devereaux appears to care about his subordinates, unlike his superior, the cold and bloodthirsty Collins, as seen when Devereaux expresses concern upon realizing that two mercenaries are unaccounted for.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Collins, as played by Scott Adkins, has the superficial charisma befitting someone desensitized to violence, and is a heartless monster.
    • Deveraux, as played by Michael Jai White, is a wisecracking and jovial mercenary who is indifferent to civilian casualties.
  • Fight Clubbing: Jaka encounters Payu and Long Fei, the Token Good Teammates turned defectors of Collins' crew, at an illegal boxing match.
  • For the Evulz: Collins chose to be a professional killer because he was good at it, and enjoys the carnage. Similarly, while part of the reason he wants to eliminate Payu, Long Fei, and Tian Xiao Xian, regardless of whether or not their negotiation is sincere, is that his livelihood and life depend on their deaths, his bloodlust and desire to see them suffer also factors into his decision.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Su Feng may not have had any involvement in the village massacre, and has little direct influence on the plot, but she hired Collins and his crew to eliminate Tian Xiao Xian.
  • Heroic Bloodshed: The film centres on an Indonesian man who wants to avenge his village's destruction at the hands of a band of mercenaries, while two defectors fight for their own survival alongside a Chinese heiress targeted by the mercenaries. There is an assortment of stylized gun, melee, and close-quarters-combat violence and virtually every named character is a capable combatant.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Tian Xiao Xian, an heiress from China, pledges money to charity in order to combat corruption.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Devereaux checks out courtesy of a railing baluster through his torso.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Collin's entire team of professional mercenaries armed with automatic weapons manages to miss nearly single shot on the protagonists despite hailing them in the open (with the one bullet that does manage to hit being inconsequential and not even slowing Payu in his final fight). This is hilariously lampshaded by Tian Xiao Xian, a philanthropist who's never handled a weapon, outgunning the last mercenary, by hitting every shot while she quickly unloaded her pistol (thankfully, the gun had no recoil).
  • Lack of Empathy: Collins only cares about his subordinates inasmuch as they are useful to him. Even when his loyal second in command, Deveraux, is killed, Collins is more upset because he didn't realize Jaka was playing him.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Jaka kills Mook, the sole woman amongst the mercenaries, by dismembering her with her own grenade launcher.
  • No Honour Among Thieves: Collins does not care about the lives of civilians or his own subordinates.
  • Nominal Villain: Payu and Long Fei initially accompany a band of mercenaries who raid a village to free the mercenary leader Collins. Despite nominally being on the side of the mercenaries, Payu and Long Fei do not kill anyone, and once they realize that they are not on a humanitarian mission like they thought, they turn on Collins and his crew, freeing the prisoners who would have been killed by Collins' explosives.
  • Perma-Stubble: Jaka has a noticeable five o'clock shadow which emphasizes his brooding nature as a man who lost his wife and village.
  • Private Military Contractors: Collins leads a team of professional mercenaries. Payu and Long Fei used to be mercenaries before defecting.
  • Psycho for Hire: Collins and his team are brutal mercenaries in the employ of a Chinese Queenpin.
  • The Queenpin: Su Feng is the Chinese mob boss who hired Collins and his crew. She is a ruthless woman who wants to kill Tian Xiao Xian for interfering with her illegal activities.
  • Scary Black Man: Devereaux is a ruthless, wisecracking African-American mercenary who takes part in the massacre of Jaka's village. Unlike Collins, he is loyal to his fellow mercenaries. Devereaux is also the first mercenary to be suspicious of Jaka when the latter infiltrates their ranks.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Mook is the sole woman among the mercenaries.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Collins, the mercenary leader with balls of steel, delivers many of his lines in a casual tone befitting a psychopath who is desensitized to violence.
  • Token Good Teammate: Payu and Long Fei had been working with Devereaux under the impression that they were going on a humanitarian mission to free prisoners. When they realize that the only prisoner being freed is a notorious killer, and that the mercenaries intend on killing the other prisoners, they refuse to co-operate, proceeding to escape, taking the prisoners away from the intended blast radius.
  • Villainous Valour: All of the mercenaries, especially Collins, are willing to go hand to hand against the protagonists, even when the odds turn against them; this is not out of honour, but out of bloodlust, for Collins in particular.
  • Wild Card: Jaka's allegiance is not clear to Payu and Long Fei, nor to Collins and his crew. Jaka uses Payu and Long Fei to get to the mercenaries, and after seemingly teaming up with the mercenaries, eventually helps the duo to defeat them. Ultimately, Jaka's allegiance is to the pursuit of vengeance for his wife and village.

Alternative Title(s): Triple Threat