Goddammit, when is somebody going to ban gum chewing in movies? I’m a card carrying, unabashed Keanu Reeves fan, but he started the whole “Gum Chewing Action Star” thing with Speed, and it’s become such a visually distracting, cheap acting trick.
Knock it off, Hollywood actors! You will never surpass the gum-chewing prowess immortalized by Reeves in Speed. He is, always has been, and shall remain the gum-chewing-action-guy king!
The culprit this time out is Casey Affleck in Triple 9, the latest from super reliable director John Hillcoat. Affleck plays Chris, a new cop in a fleet of bad cops who distinguishes himself by, you guessed it, chewing gum a lot.
He doesn’t just chew that shit, either. Oh no. He cracks it, he pops it, he moves it all over his mouth and lets the white wad stick out of the corners, and he makes sure it gets in the way of his near every line delivery and near every shot he occupies in the movie.
If I should ever get to helm an action cop movie, what with my budding film career and all, I’m going for the gum chewing title. I will make sure to have my action cop guy constantly unwrapping pieces of gum and shoving them into his pie hole. I won’t stop at Wrigley’s either. Nope, I’ll get some Big Red in there, adding to the color palette. We’ll get some Bubble Yum and Bazooka for bigger, longer lasting bubbles. It’s going to make my action star so freaking tough looking.
Okay, so the actual movie is pretty good. Like the usual Hillcoat movies (The Road, The Proposition, Lawless) it’s a dark film with a bleak outlook on humanity. Nobody is happy in this flick, and they are going to let you know that for sure. Only this time, there’s a whole lot of gum chewing and some fast moving, impressive action scenes to go with all of the brooding.
Anthony Mackie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aaron Paul, Woody Harrelson and, yes, Affleck make this dirty cop thriller a worthwhile viewing. Hillcoat proves he knows his way around an action flick, and while this particular one is thin on plot, it’s strong with atmosphere and performances. And, yes, it has a lot of gum.