I would stay they are actually quite different. I have more memories of Sicario 1 than Sicario 2, so maybe this is more true of Sicario 1. But in general, I think Sicario was trying at some level to make a statement about US-Mexico relations and the drug trade and the effect of the drug trade.
Extraction uses drug dealers for the setup, but it’s all action. It’s not trying to make any political statements and not trying to be anything other than a pure action movie.
Sicario 2 is about Del Toro’s character going rogue on a CIA black op, after his paymaster asked him to kidnap and then kill a cartel kingpin’s daughter. The kingpin’s daughter reminded him of his own dead daugther, killed by the very same kingpin he was trying to hurt. And so he had a “moment of weakness”, and decided instead to smuggle her to US to protect her. So both the cartel and CIA were hot on his tail.
So Liam Hemsworth trying to protect that Indian boy, with doublecrosses etc. reminded me of Sicario 2. Of course I know that is Chris not Liam, I’m just mocking the ubiquity of the Hemsworth brothers.
Regarding viewing statistics, Netflix changed it last year to viewing a movie or one episode for at least two minutes. They say the two minute stat makes numbers 35% higher than the 70% viewed stat. So Extraction would have gotten about 67 million views under the old system, which would still be pretty good, but less than Birdbox’ 80 million.
Yeah, I also never watch any of these before the guys. But the podcast pretty much tells me what to watch. I’ve watched Thelma, Christine, Border, Big Night, Chopper and lots more all thanks to the Quarter to Three Podbrain. It’s almost like having cinematically literate friends!
Extraction: his name is Tyler Rake, and he kills a dude with a rake. 10/10, masterpiece.
Seriously though, this is extremely my shit. An action movie premise that is an 80:s throwback? Check. An opening that is basically a lighting and tone shift away from being MacGruber? Check. An utter commitment to choregraphy and practical stunts? Check.
It’s not best in class though - it doesn’t have the style and wit of a John Wick, it doesn’t have the stripped down nature of The Raid - or the the colorful suporting cast of the rest of the Indonesian fight movies. It’s just a throwback dumb action movie executed with utter self-seriousness and a ton a craft.
On the scale of throwback action movies with dodgy melodrama and action scenes the rest of the movie can never quite live up to, I’d rate it below Headshot - as impressive as the faux-one-take is, all that improvised weapon violence in the police station is just chef kiss - but above Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear - although the dojo fight was an actual one-take.
Also @tomchick, are you skipping listener feedback for now, or are the rest of the audience just dum-dums like me who meant towrite in but forgot?
I had to look up Headshot to figure out what you were talking about. If you’d said “the movie where the Raid guy and a hot chick in a tight wet tank top fight each other on a beach”, I would have totally known what you were talking about. Now I have to look up this Ninja Shadow 2: Dark Tear movie to debunk the claim that a fight scene was actually done in one take.
By the way, Soren, have you seen Furie with Veronica Ngo? It’s definitely got heart.
To be honest, I haven’t been into the podcast’s email account since Christien died. That was always his department. Not logging in has been a form of denial, I guess?
But thanks for the reminder. Now that we’re kind of on a schedule, and now that we’re announcing what we’re watching, I’ll make a point of asking folks to write in so we can include their comments. So anyone who watches Blood Quantum, write to [email protected] and let us know what you thought.
I’m furiously taking notes here for my next action movie marathon. It will all culminate in Extraction.
Are all these movies the contemporary examples of Asian action movies (well, except for Ninja, I think that one is American?) that are the decedents of Jackie Chan and Jet Li action movies of previous eras? I always wondered who their successors were when those guys got older.
You could also add The Raid 2: Berandal and The Night Comes For Us to the list while you’re at it.
I guess Iko Uwais is the closest we’ve had to a martial artist getting a bit of traction in the west in recent years? They’re also successors in the sense that there’s a lot of focus on good choreography, and occasional creative use of improvised weaponry, but Indonesian fight movies as Tom likes to derisively call them tend to a bit more violent than I remember Chan and Li getting. Gareth Evans (who did The Raid movies) and Timo Tjahjanto (Headshot/The Night Comes For Us) have also done horror movies (and co-directed a segment of VHS 2, if I recall correctly), and bring a healthy love of torn flesh to the proceedings.
Yeah, something like the Ip Man series is closer to the Jet Li oeuvre, though a little more grounded. The Raid is (was before it was copied by everyone) almost sui generis. It’s more John Wick-y, but without guns (for the most part). Or, obviously, Dredd. I have to say I didn’t particularly like what I watched of The Night Comes For Us. It just seemed gruesome for gruesome’s sake, without the remarkable choreography and editing of the Raid movies.
Not sure anyone has really taken over from Jackie Chan in quite that style of film-making, though I suppose Stephen Chow has the comedy martial arts genre covered.
Well, there’s the difference between us - I was cackling with glee when every kill topped itself. If The Raid is an action take on a straight up horror movie, The Night Comes For Us is an action take on Braindead/Dead Alive, and I loved every minute of it.
While I don’t agree on the choreography, I will agree that the editing is stonger in The Raid movies though.
And I don’t thik The Raid is sui generis either. It’s a martial arts movie meets Assault on Precinct 13. It’s a novel synthesis, but if you seen Merantau, Evans and Uwais first movie together you can definitely see the seeds of The Raid, particularly in the elevator fight. The Raid applies more kinetic editing over the long take Hong-Kong school style Merantau favored, partly out of necessity so the actors aren’t exhausted after every take, but it also works for the shift in tone, as does upping the brutality
I’m happy to modify it to “Evans/Uwais movies like The Raid” being sui generis. And I didn’t mean that in a particularly strong sense, simply that to say it/they weren’t the natural successor of a particular school of martial arts film-making, rather a distinct style of its own - claustrophobic, relentless, fast-paced close-quarters fighting.
Sure, I’d sort if agree with you there. Pencak silat as a martial art is quicker and more brutal than kung-fu. So especially if your first exposire is The Raid, which with its survival horror stylings would be distressing enough on its own, it’d be a massive shock.
Having now watched Merantau Warrior (UK title), I think I’m willing to strengthen my claim a little. I’d say the only part of the film that really tries to do what The Raid does for much of its length is the fight on the pedestrian bridge… The elevator fight had a somewhat different feel to it (and certainly a very different payoff), though clearly it’s closer to The Raid than, say, a Yuen Woo Ping fight would be.
Incidentally, I love how it adopts the great Hong Kong cinema villain trope of “What’s with these dudes’ accents? Oh, right, they’re the only white martial artists in town.”