Tri | Review

TRI is movie that I think will hold particular appeal to the people of the sporting fraternity, sadly this was not Kernel Jordan. He has reviewed this movie purely from a movie perspective and it did not sway him. The trailer looked more like a day time television mini-series to me but a few scenes held me emotionally. I understand that pain of sports, that dedication of a sportsman and that constant battle with one’s self.

When I was younger I ran cross country and a few year’s back I trained and partook in Tough Mudder, something I seriously thought would kill me. There is a scene in the trailer with the lead actor unsure if she can go on, as she is running a man is running on the side of the road egging her on, someone did this with me when I was near death in Tough Mudder and the effect it had on me was incredible. The athlete is so unsure of themselves they follow directions and inspiration wherever it comes from. 

But a triathlon is something of much more trying endurance, the elite triathlons swim 4km, cycle 120km and run 30km. Anyone crazy enough to want to participate in these events gets my respect. As do the makers of the film for trying to show it. 


While Kernel Jordan may not have enjoyed it – don’t just take our word for it – TRI had an award-winning run at the Chesapeake Film Festival. The film was named the Best Narrative Feature Film and stars Jensen Jacobs and Chris Dyer won Best Actress and Actor, respectively.

TRI is out now on VoD in Australia, you will find it on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. It runs for 110mins and I am guessing at a PG rating. Enjoy Kernel Jordan’s thoughts……………JK.


TRI Movie Poster image




The TRI filmmakers have set themselves a lofty goal before starting by trying to make a film about triathlons funny and interesting. For the uninitiated, triathlons are ‘Ironman’-type events that combine a marathon of running, cycling, and swimming. While it is true that the sport is becoming more popular, this is more to do with athletes training for cardiovascular purposes more than anything else.

The reality is that most people, especially younger folk, don’t see these sports as exciting. In fact, they aren’t seen as sports, they are seen as exercise. A chore, something one must do in order to stay fit.

This is obviously the rough attitude of Natalie, who we follow throughout. But an encounter with a woman who runs triathlons for charity at the very start of the film ends with a pamphlet in her hand. She almost immediately dismisses it, but the incredible saleswoman demands that she look up Julie Moss on the internet. It will be inspiring.


Triathlon is the fastest growing endurance sport in the world and was the fastest growing of all sports in the UK in 2014. There are over 600,000 athletes registered with USA Triathlon, and over 3.2 million worldwide.


TRI Jensen Jacobs image



While these stark images of a woman pushing her body beyond its capacity are something to behold, and are indeed inspiring, it is very hard to believe that a person who isn’t an athlete, who had no prior interest in triathlons, or even exercise, is swayed to participate in such a tough event, one that is so far out of her comfort zone, by a single video. (Ed’s Note: I was inspired to run Tough Mudder by a single video, it nearly killed me).

Natalie’s friend Skyler decides that she will do the triathlon too, because that’s what friends do, right? Nevermind her almost complete indifference to the footage of Julie Moss that Natalie plays her.

The two friends are soon at an expo (of sorts) for triathlons, where the twosome find a team to train with. We meet some incredibly shallow and stereotypical characters, such as the big old guy who has a big heart. The characters are so thin that despite the sentiment shown by most of them, none of it has any emotional impact. It is very hard to care for characters who feel too much like characters; ie, the acting is not natural at all – the exact opposite in fact – it all feels very forced, especially the humour, which falls flat constantly.

From here the film meanders its way through the middle act, it all essentially acting as an extremely extended training montage with ineffective, manipulative emotional moments dispersed accordingly.

Considering the sports involved are swimming and bicycling, this does not exactly make for entertaining viewing, so the film feels the need to insert many joyous scenes of the team having fun and getting to know each other. There is barely an argument and practically zero conflict.


TRI Jensen Jacobs image



The final act is desperately predictable, and again the emotional rollercoasters these people have been on is just not felt by the viewer. The acting and the script are simply too bland to achieve such a feat, not to mention that none of these characters feel like real people.

This is most certainly a film that wears its message on its sleeve, possibly to its own detriment, as much of the movie feels like an advertisement for triathlons, with unbelievably happy and content characters, adding to the feeling of advertisement. I’d love to hear what someone who competes in triathlons and loves movies thinks of this, as I really wanted to like it. But I lost count of the obvious flaws thirty minutes into the film.

I wanted to be inspired. But the only inspiring footage to be found here is the real footage that can be found on youtube of Julie Moss


TRI Jensen Jacobs image



The story is a ‘feel-good’ tale of people overcoming obstacles, to achieve something great, and this is a message that I love. I also love the message that completing something productive can help those dealing with grief or depression. It is a pity then that this message is wrapped in a film that is so underwhelming that I struggled to finish watching it. Some polish to the editing, script and screenplay could have gone a long way here.





Jordan Dodd is an aspiring novelist hailing from Adelaide, Australia. His first book is a chronicle of his experiences in a rehab centre that was more of a cult than anything else, and his goal is to finish it and pitch it to someone who matters. It can be found here. He also enjoys writing about film, which is probably his biggest obsession (apart from writing). When not writing for Salty Popcorn Jordan has his own website – he can be contacted via


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