Michael Jai White on 'Triple Threat' and His Type of Action Movies

The actor and martial artist discusses his latest action extravaganza, which sees him star alongside the best of the best that the genre has to offer.

Mjw
Well Go USA Entertainment

We’re only a few short months into the new year, but we’ve already been treated to a couple of top-notch action flicks that will rank among the year’s best when December rolls around. South Korea’s Revenger (high) kicked the year off with a bang, while the UK’s low-budget delight Nightshooters will go down as one of 2019’s most unexpected treats. It’s a good time to be an action fan, and there’s still plenty of exciting upcoming releases to look forward to.

For one, action junkies have been counting the days until Triple Threat hits our screens. With an ensemble cast that includes Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Tony Jaa, Michael Bisping, Tiger Hu Chen, JeeJa Yanin, Celina Jade, and Iko Uwais, the film contains the most talented badasses working in the genre at the moment. Who hasn’t been dying to see this flick?

Having had the pleasure of recently seeing the movie, I’m happy to report that it hits the sweet spot. Triple Threat gives its dream team roster of performers time to shine in the ass-kicking department while also providing some entertaining character interactions and fun dialogue. It’s fun and everything you want it to be.

White is a standout as the villainous Devereaux, a mercenary who’s tasked with eliminating a Chinese diplomat who’s pissed off some powerful people. I had the chance to talk to him recently about the movie and what attracts him to hard-hitting action flicks. Like the fans who’ve been eagerly awaiting this movie since the moment it was first announced, White was excited for the project because of the players involved.

“I was told that they were creating the project before it was completed, so I was interested before even reading it,” he told me. “I’d worked with Scott Adkins and Tony Jaa before, so of course I was very excited to be working with these guys. I’d met Iko before, but I’d never worked with him. But I’d looked forward to doing that. The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2 are two of my favorite movies of the last 10 years.”

In the movie, White and Uwais’ characters are supposed to be on the same team. Sort of. It’s not that simple. As a result, all of their interactions are rife with bickering and mistrust until the tension finally reaches a breaking point and all hell lets loose. When that happens, we are finally treated to the two actors engaging in a cinematic slobber knocker against each other. Let’s hope it’s the first of many onscreen showdowns between the pair, because it’s a good one.

As is to be expected from any movie involving this particular cast, Triple Threat allows the action scenes to breathe and makes good use of the talented performers at its disposal. We want to see this ensemble strut their stuff and showcase their tremendous physical abilities, and the movie doesn’t disappoint in that regard. For White, this is the type of action fare that appeals to him — both as a performer and as a fan.

“My favorite is when you can see the action and it’s not a bunch of cutting,” White confessed. “I look at it like the glory days of dance movies. You want to see the entire full frame of the performer to appreciate the beauty of it. But if you watch a dance movie and all you’re seeing is cuts, all you’re seeing is editing. I hate that with action movies. There have been so many times where I’ve shot great action scenes, but the editor has cut it up so terrible that you don’t appreciate the action.”

To the average viewer who isn’t a world class martial artist like the people on screen, the fight scenes look like a lot of work. Perhaps even exhausting and painful. However, given that the Triple Threat cast is comprised of the best martial artists working in contemporary action cinema, the brawls weren’t too difficult to shoot. For White, they were a blast.

“Yeah, it was quite easy to do that,” he admitted. “Everybody had so much control, and it was basically fun. It was difficult to work in the jungle heat, but the fight scenes stuff was a lot of fun.”

There’s no doubt that action junkies will get a thrill out of Triple Threat and White’s performance in particular. That said, anyone who’s going to check out this movie will be expecting no less. White’s next movie, meanwhile, is the upcoming Dragged Across Concrete, which sees him showcase more of his dramatic abilities. After that, the future is busy, both in front and behind the camera.

“Right now I have five more movies coming out,” he said, “but I’m making plans to direct two more in the near future.”

One movie we can look forward to down the line is The Outlaw Johnny Black, which will see Jai White make his long-awaited return to the Black Dynamite universe. Only this time the story will be set in the Old West and follow another character I’m sure will become just as iconic in cult circles. The actor certainly has no shortage of projects in the works at any given time, so there’s a lot to look forward to. Until then, please check out Triple Threat to see him, Uwais, and the other premier action stars on the planet dance like only they can.

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