Case Number 17267: Small Claims Court


Magnolia Pictures // 2007 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 15th, 2009

The Charge

One night. One plan. One shot.

The Case

Three well-known directors of action cinema -- Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, and Johnnie To -- team up to make a relatively action-free heist movie. Triangle tells the story of three friends, idiots all, who are hurting for money. Thanks to a tip from a mysterious old man, they get clued into a monster of a score. The old guy tells them about a gold treasure hidden within a government building that's worth north of five million dollars.

This opportunity, shady as it is, proves to be too alluring to the friends. Despite the fact they lack the wits and the skill-set to pull off such an audacious job and get away with it, they soldier on. Soon enough, as you would surmise, rifts form and unintended consequences begin to rear their ugly head. Not long after that -- violence!

As far as your heists-gone-wrong-then-everyone-freaks-out movies go, you could do a whole lot worse than Triangle. It could do with a better name (I can't get ninth grade trigonometry out of my head when I think of it), but the film contains all the core essentials required by the genre: hapless characters in way over their head, ruthless enforcers after them and their treasure, paranoia, wrinkles in the plan, a moderate amount of gunfire, a girl who endangers the whole feeble scheme, and gratuitous photography of a crocodile.

The three leads are charismatic and bring with them their own foibles, be it impulsiveness, paranoia, or a cheating wife. That wife storyline represents a major arc of the story and the husband's desire to exact revenge on the dude who's putting it to his betrothed. It's an interesting thread, one that squeezes out the most blood and violence in the runtime, yet feels like somewhat of a distraction. The extended sequence where the guy finally gets his hand on the philanderer and beats him to a blood pulp goes for a long time and trips up the pace.

Things come together nicely at the end, however, when the three friends, the wife, and the treasure are intercepted by the bad guys. It's a tense stretch, culminating in a cool midnight chase through the cornfields, resulting in an interesting choice by the protagonists, when their lives are on the line. It's a choice they should have made a lot earlier, before succumbing to their greed, but I suppose that is the point of these kinds of movies.

The DVD is a winner, the film transferred in a clean 2.35:1 picture, supported by a 5.1 Cantonese track and a 2.0 English dub. For extras, a pair of making-of featurettes.

The Verdict

Not Guilty. Can't wait for the sequel: Isosceles.

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Scales of Justice
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Cantonese)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* English (CC)
* Spanish

Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Featurettes

* IMDb