Ben Affleck has turned his Batsuit in for a flak jacket, and it’s not a bad wardrobe change. Affleck leads a team of former Special Forces operatives in J.C. Chandor’s Triple Frontier, a film that’s heavy on gunfights and too light on character arcs yet still makes for a passable action film as Hollywood heats up for spring and summer pyrotechnics. And though Frontier — Netflix’s highest profile release since Roma — won’t be the Oscar threat of Alfonso’s Cuaron’s black-and-white drama, it proves a tense and occasionally thoughtful shoot-em-up.

Affleck plays Tom “Redfly” Davis, a former Special Forces marksman who, like his ex-military buddies, is having difficulty adjusting to a 9 to 5 workday.  But that’s about to change when Santiago “Pope” Garcia (Oscar Isaac), their former brother in arms who now works for as a  “consultant” mysterious company contracted vaguely by South American government offers the group a reunion, Expendables-style.

With the promise of that old trope — “one last job” — and the potential for a major payday, Garcia gathers each old pal — made up of Affleck, William “Ironhead” Miller (Charlie Hunnam), Ben Miller (Garrett Hedlund) and Francisco “Catfish” Morales (Pedro Pascal) — with little trouble. Once at the pinnacle of their profession, they’re now all struggling to adapt to civilian life. Davis is a divorced, heavy-drinking real estate broker with little talent for it. Miller is getting his face kicked in as a cage fighter.

“I say we deserve better,” Garcia tells Davis. “You’ve been shot five times for your country and you can’t pay off your truck.”

The movie, a Netflix release playing in theaters for a week before streaming, was first scripted by Mark Boal with plans for Kathryn Bigelow to direct, reuniting The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirtyteam. Both remain executive producers and Boal is a co-writer alongside Chandor.

And both leave their influences on Frontier. Like Locker and Thirty, the film is similarly attuned to the under-rewarded sacrifice of elite American soldiers. But it’s also a larger leap into genre, for the filmmakers and Netflix. Plentiful in soldiers, guns and explosions,  Frontier is the kind of overtly macho movie (like Expendables) that’s perhaps too familiar to moviegoers. But an A-list, big-budget thriller is new ground for Netflix, and Frontier deserves points for being something in-between Roma and a quickie straight-to-video money grab; not an blatant awards push, but not a throwaway production, either.

Instead, Frontier poses as typical soldier of fortune flick, with a heist twist. The crew is tasked with taking down a long-elusive drug lord named Lorea, and has plans to make off with Lorea’s millions.

Midway through the film, however, Frontier becomes more contemplative as the mission goes increasingly  awry. As the journey becomes bloodier, soldiers begin questioning why  they ever enlisted. By the time they’re handing wads of cash to compensate for dead villagers, the soldiers have already gone mentally A.W.O.L.

It makes for riveting battle scenes, thanks to cinematographer Roman Vasyanov. But the tonal shift  requires us to know more about the soldiers than their nicknames and skill sets to invest in their fates. Besides a brief glimpse into Affleck’s failed civilian life, we’re otherwise left with soldiers’ clunky backstories about how tough life is when you leave the jungle. It may be a real phenomenon, but makes for shallow filmmaking.

As is stands, Triple Frontier is an adequate shoot-up-up, with a few cliffhanging moments that will satisfy most fans of the genre. The film deserves credit for trying to make a reflective Expendables that goes deeper than body counts, but by the time the credit rolls, you realize the mission could have gone deeper.