"We're still at war, Plissken. We need him alive."

"I don't give a fuck about your war... or your president."

Extraction

EXTRACTION seems to be getting good promotion as far as non-awards-contender-made-for-Netflix movies go. And there aren’t movie theaters at the moment anyway, so it was the hot movie to see this weekend. I’m glad they figured out a way to get people interested – I’ve been anticipating it for a while, but “it’s the first movie directed by the stuntman who did the action direction for ATOMIC BLONDE and WOLF WARRIOR II” maybe doesn’t have the same currency with normal people as it does for me.

Sam Hargrave has been the Captain America stunt double since the first THE AVENGERS, and a Marvel fight/stunt coordinator/second unit director since CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, so he was well known to “visionary directors” Joe and Anthony Russo, who used their Marvel money to start the production company/studio AGBO. And they were wise enough to get him as director for this movie based on their 2014 graphic novel Ciudad (written with Ande Parks, adapted for the screen by Joe Russo).

I guess that’s also his connectcion to Chris Hemsworth (A PERFECT GETAWAY), but in my opinion he completely forgot about Thor and cast him strictly because he thought it was fucking bullshit that BLACKHAT didn’t become a franchise. Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, who is not an elite hacker this time, but he does get to travel around the world hiding out, shooting, exploding and stabbing because he’s in the similar vocation of depressed ex-special ops very expensive black market mercenary.

One day while Tyler is minding his own business terrifying his buddies by spontaneously cliff diving and then meditating/contemplating death underwater, a nice young nerd kid in India named Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) is kidnapped by minions of a sadistic Bangladeshi crime lord named Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli, ROCK ON 2). That’s because Ovi’s dad (Pankaj Tripathi, GANGS OF WASSEYPUR) is the biggest drug lord in India. But he’s in prison and can’t really afford the ransom or the humiliation of paying it, so instead he threatens the family of his henchman Saju (Randeep Hooda, MONSOON WEDDING, ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI, JJANNAT 2). This happened on your watch, and you’re a badass special forces motherfucker or whatever. Go get my boy back or die.

Painted into a corner, Saju calls up Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani, PATERSON: WAY OF THE BUS DRIVER), the manager of all the mercenaries I think, who sends Tyler (backed by a sniper played by Hargrave himself) to rescue the kid. But Saju doesn’t have the money and they’re not about to let him pay it off by washing dishes. So Tyler ends up stuck in Dakha (filmed in Thailand) with Ovi and nowhere safe to bring him.

Hemsworth never seems to struggle with accents, but it’s nice to see him actually play an Australian and get to call people “mate” all the time. This is a pretty gloomy movie, though, without much of his humor. And honestly there was a point I was thinking it wasn’t gonna be as good as CLOSE (the one with Noomi Rapace as the burnt out badass-for-hire with parenting issues trying to rescue an abducted rich kid overseas), because seeing her play a character like this was a little more novel.

Then all the sudden it goes full-on atomic blonde. Or maybe it’s more CHILDREN OF MEN in this simulated long take that goes from an intense car chase to a foot chase and a fight with police that involves shooting, grappling, stabbing, falling over ledges, getting hit by cars. It has a beautiful ebb and flow to it, taking time to lag back with Saju pursuing him, or the police searching a building for him, and to do things like zoom in on Ovi looking back and forth at a fight happening in front of him, or branch off as he runs off on his own for a bit. And there’s a great moment where Tyler and Saju have a knife duel on a crowded street and Tyler jumps back and winces as an innocent dude zips by on a scooter and almost gets hit by his blade.

Hey, come on guys. Knife duel going on here.

I’m not always a stickler for this, but it should be noted that this is one of those action scenes people demand where it’s fully integrated into the story and characters. It springs out of the big turn in the plot, when it’s revealed what Saju is trying to do. It illustrates what Saju is capable of. And it establishes Ovi’s conflict of having to decide if he’s safer with Tyler or Saju.

Definitely the action – with the type of camerawork that puts you in the middle of the chaos but respects your right as a viewer to see what’s going on – stands out. It’s very big on Michael Mann type realistic gun play, but not at the expense of the good shit. For example, he picks up a guy and swings him as a weapon against another guy. He kicks a table into a guy. He impales a guy on his namesake garden tool. It’s cool that the director himself is up in a building shooting guys so the hero has the opportunity to do actual fighting.

But it’s also during the course of that long scene that I really registered that this Saju character is something special. I think it happened around the time he reappears in a stolen police car, sideswiping and shooting at the real police while trying to catch up with Tyler.

I’m completely unfamiliar with the world of Hindi cinema, but I was not remotely surprised to read afterwards that Hooda is a popular actor that people were excited to see in the movie, the way I would be if Tony Jaa or somebody showed up. When I first saw his character as a calm but intimidating presence looking after the kid, I thought “Who does this guy think he is, Guy Pearce or somebody?” Then when he talked to his wife about having to do this dangerous thing to protect his family I thought, “Ah, a bad guy with a little humanity to him, I like those.” And then as soon as he was geared up and going after our guy it was clear that he was somebody, not one of the cavalcade of forgettable, interchangeable bad guys in a million action movies, often scary foreigners. This guy has a presence, he commands your attention and fascination.

And you realize these are both ex-Special Forces guys (we learn that from a nice pan across the photos in his living room) who agreed to work for the same bad person. They’re both trying to save the same kid. And the kid kind of looks at both of them in shock, not necessarily sure which one he should go with. He knows they both think of him “more like a thing than a person.”

So when the movie takes a little time to follow Saju on his own, finding a hotel room, straightening his broken nose bone, calling his family clearly worried it will be the last time he speaks to them, it’s been earned.

This Tyler character really grew on me too. He’s cool from the beginning, because he lives on a remote patch of gravel in a corrugated metal shack with a dog, some chickens, a tractor, a dirt bike and a broken down station wagon, but he’s not surprised when he comes home and somebody’s helicopter has landed on his property. In fact, he nods politely to the pilot.

And his Riggs-style self-hating danger addiction is handled well. A gangster pretends he’s going to shoot him and is in awe that he doesn’t flinch – he says “There’s no magazine in it,” and we know he probly did notice that, but wouldn’t have flinched anyway. The main theme of being broken from the death of a son and related regrets, and how rescuing Ovi changes his attitude toward life, is on the obvious side. But I like the irony that he’s doing this because he lost a wife and kid while Saju is doing it because he has a wife and kid. Wherever your life goes, you have problems.

What’s great about the whole theme is Tyler’s weird chemistry with all the kids in the movie. When he first gets Ovi to safety and pulls him out of the trunk I expected the usual thing where they snipe at each other for a while. Instead Tyler calmly and emotionlessly hands him a bottle of water, a candy bar, tells him to eat it because his blood sugar is low. Ovi looks at Tyler’s scars, his equipment, his manner, with big eyes that I interpreted as “who is this superman and how do I become one?” Tyler makes little attempt to be comforting or reassuring to him, just kind of bossing him around (and without warning throwing him out a window onto a roof exactly like Blade did to Karen), but Ovi is not very upset about it and at times I thought he even appreciated not being coddled, being expected to be tough, as he aspires to be.

There’s a standout part of the initial rescue where Tyler has killed all the guys in the room except for one tiny kid who points a rifle at him. Tyler doesn’t try to run or grab the gun or talk him down, he just stands and watches the kid try to fire it and fail. Then he non-threateningly takes the gun and gestures for him to leave. And he does.

Beat it, kid.

But Amir, the fancy-dressing gangster responsible for the kidnapping, is the opposite. His Just how Evil Is He? involves threatening a bunch of kids because one of them allegedly stole from him, and throwing a random one off a roof to get them to talk. He singles out this kid named Farhad (Suraj Rikame), who already has a big scar across his face from some unspecified trauma, compliments him but then demands he cut off two of his own fingers.

Farhad lucks out and gets to keep the fingers for now, but there’s this tragic mini-arc where reacts the way many do to abusive bullies: he tries to win his approval. Runs over and opens a car door for him. Becomes a gunman for him. In the middle of that story is the funniest scene in the movie, when Tyler gets ambushed in a dark alley and then realizes it’s a bunch of kids. He has this little “I can’t fuckin believe this” head shake and a “What the fuck?” before he’s forced to beat them all up because they have guns and machetes. The scene has a perfectly uncomfortable sense of “Well, this isn’t really fair” way bigger and stronger than all of them and he’s a highly trained professional and they’re just random kids handed weapons. It’s like Lebron James playing basketball against a bunch of 12 year olds. So he’s literally tossing them around, a little disgusted by the whole idea but not enough to stop him from, like, breaking a car window with Farhad’s head. Then he slaps him and says, “Piss off. These fuckin shits!”

This is one of these movies that I knew I really liked, but as I write about it and rewatch parts of it I’m realizing I full-on love it. A compelling hero-and-kid relationship, an even more compelling villain-turned-not-villain character, a good hissable bad guy, some other interesting side characters and subplots, and lots of good action including that A+ showstopper. A straight-to-streaming action movie that’s better than many theatrical releases and with equal production value. More Tyler Rake adventures, please.

P.S. I don’t know how close this is to the comic book, but that takes place in Paraguay and he’s rescuing “an attractive young woman” according to an Amazon review.

P.P.S. SPOILER QUESTION: On the bridge at the end were we supposed to think Niki was trying to kill him for betraying the company, and then it’s a surprise when she helps him? Or did I misunderstand what was going on? Whatever it is, I like that she’s loyal to him. I know it’s corny but even though it’s realistic for people in this world to turn on each other it makes me happy when movies let you believe in an unbreakable friendship like that.

P.P.P.S. The original version by Mike Judge was underrated, I thought, but this one is pretty different

APPENDIX: Other notable Sam Hargrave credits:

This entry was posted on Monday, April 27th, 2020 at 9:08 am and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

32 Responses to “Extraction”

  1. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere I also loved this one. You know how there are these horror movies that get all this critical acclaim because they’re actually a metaphor for grief? Turns out when you make an action movie that’s actually a metaphor for grief it doesn’t quite have the same effect.

  2. «I’ve been attacked by The Goonies From Hell»

  3. I loved this one a bunch and hope we get more “Tyler Rake” films and I’m all in on Hargrave as a director. Vern if you want to learn more about Sandeep Hooda I recommend “Baaghi 2” (no relation to the first Baaghi, which, itself is an unauthorized remake of “The Raid”). It stars Tiger Shroff who is a second generation Bollywood movie star as well as a martial artist. The film riffs on Stallone iconography and popular martial arts films. Shroff is a terrible actor but Hooda is in it as a scuzzy policeman who is investigating all the carnage in Tiger’s wake and he’s just cool as hell in it. You ought to look into Indian cinema, Vern. They have been doing a lot of really cool things the past few years.

    Here’s a link that shows you where you can stream it –

    …And if anyone is curious, here is my review of Extraction –

    At The Movies: EXTRACTION (2020) – Review - Video CULTure

    It’s clear that everyone involved with EXTRACTION wanted this to be a calling card to the rest of the film industry...

  4. This one was a lot of fun. The characters were pretty stereotypical, the plot was either non-existent or trite, but the acting was good and the action was stellar. All in all, I really liked it.

    I had trouble with the audio, though. Did anyone else have this problem? Like most movies I always have issues with having to crank up the volume to hear the dialogue, only to then get blown out when they start shooting guns and blowing things up. This one, though, seemed even worse. I think maybe they were whispering a lot. I probably need to get a better audio set up. Right now, it’s just the TV with no extra special speaker system.

    I’m curious, did anyone have any issues with the dead child making the hero sad motivation? It seemed like a lot of people have issues with that in other movies, like GRAVITY, so I was wondering if it bothered them here, too, and if not, why.

  5. I watched on a soundbar gimmick and I didn’t notice anything on that end.

    Considering that the whole point of the movie is that he learns to grieve for his son by helping this other young boy not get killed it would have been weird if he was grieving a dead wife or something. My first thought was “We have a Stargate” situation here.

  6. Well, I’m definitely fucking watching this now!!!

  7. Maggie, I have that trouble all the time. I live in an apartment so I’m always turning the volume up and down to make sure the upstairs and downstairs neighbors aren’t angry about the gunshots and car crashes. I think you’re right, it means it’s mixed to have a wide range from quiet to loud so it sounds good in surround sound, but since we’re just playing from TV speakers it seems schizophrenic.

  8. I started watching this and was enjoying it quite a bit, but I bailed out about an hour in when we got to the scene where Rake and the kid bond in the hotel room at night. I just wasn’t in the mood for that shit – I wanted a solid 90 minutes of running, shooting, and ass-kicking, with as few recognizable human emotions as possible. You know, like SPARTAN. But your review has me convinced that I need to come back and pick up 2-3 minutes after where I left off.

  9. Even Seagal movies stopped for character moments (usually really bad, but still).

    Yo peoples with tvs, a lot of the new ones have settings you can use in order to flatten the sound…usually called dynamic sound or whatever. I don’t use that myself, so I have no idea how well it works but I even have it on the realtively cheap tv I like to use the most in my office. So I think it may be something found in average tvs.

  10. This is the best Hollywood action movie since John Wick 3.

    A minute into the first action scene I did something really unusual – instead of rolling my eyes I found myself smiling instead. Found out Sam Hargraves is a former stuntman and worked with the Russo Brothers, who understand action too.

    I feel aggrieved that a bunch of idiots can consider crap like The Villainess (2017) an example of good action and give it a four-minute standing ovation at Cannes.

    This movie is written off as having inadequate character development and no plot. On the contrary, like Vern mentions, it does both well and sidesteps action movie clichés. I believe most people instinctively understand good action…even if you are only familiar with the action-comedy of Jackie Chan, you should appreciate movies like Ong Bak, The Raid 2, Brotherhood Of Blades, John Wick and even Man Of Tai Chi.

    If Chris Hemsworth is interested in going down this route he can be the next Keanu Reeves. He balances natural grace and aggression as an on-screen fighter, and this is actually more than what Keanu offers.

    This is the best movie this year for me. So far. 1917 was good, but this…is a rare movie. Not many of such movies get made.

  11. This is the best Hollywood action movie since John Wick 3.

    A minute into the first action scene I did something really unusual – instead of rolling my eyes I found myself smiling instead. Found out Sam Hargraves is a former stuntman and worked with the Russo Brothers, who understand action too.

    I feel aggrieved that a bunch of idiots can consider crap like The Villainess (2017) an example of good action and give it a four-minute standing ovation at Cannes.

    This movie is written off as having inadequate character development and no plot. On the contrary, like Vern mentions, it does both well and sidesteps action movie clichés. I believe most people instinctively understand good action…even if you are only familiar with the action-comedy of Jackie Chan, you should appreciate movies like Ong Bak, The Raid 2, Brotherhood Of Blades, John Wick and even Man Of Tai Chi.

    If Chris Hemsworth is interested in going down this route he can be the next Keanu Reeves. He balances natural grace and aggression as an on-screen fighter, and this is actually more than what Keanu offers.

    This is the best movie this year for me. So far. 1917 was good, but this…is a rare movie. Not many of such movies get made.

  12. Chris really has it in him to become the REAL Action hero we need, The days of The Rock, Vin Diesel, Statham and those of the same irk have gone. Chris needs to work with top quality Action Directors or artists who know how to construct Action sequences and blend that with genuine emotional content. This along with Blackhat proves he’s got the right skills to go even further.

  13. SPOILER! Perhaps we’re a weird family, but all five of us wanted the kid Tyler lets go to be the one who fires the fatal shot at the end.

  14. Hey Maggie, just want to agree with you on the sound in this one. Glad you mentioned it as I thought something had gone wrong with my ears. I had this at exactly twice the normal volume I play things at, and everything still sounded a bit muffled and flat.

    I don’t think anyone’s mentioned this, but I think I would have had a bit more fun with this if Amir was sending endless waves of thugs at him instead of using the police. They kill a ridiculous amount of cops in this movie. I think maybe you’re meant to think they’re corrupt cops, but it does seem more like they are just normal uniforms and special forces taking orders from one corrupt commander.

  15. This was suprisingly good! I was with it from the moment drunk TYLER RAKE leaps from a cliff into a lake and then meditates at the bottom of the lake. I figured this had to be directed by someone who worked on Atomic Blonde and John Wick and I was half right. The stuntwork and the one shot action scene trickery on display is impressive. I was pleasantly surprised by how much they tried to flesh out the character who transforms from Glasses-wearing consigliere to CONFLICTED COMMANDO.

    That being said, the movie is a little too long and could have used some humor. There are some brief glimmers of humor (Hemsworth going “What thu fuck??” Before slapping around a bunch of kids), but it’s not enough. I feel like the kid could have been funny, but he’s mostly there to be Hemsworth’s therapist.

    The “Eh?? Maybe/Maybe not??” Choose your own adventure ending is pretty funny I guess.

    Answer to Vern’s p.p.s. SPOILER question
    .
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    I was under the impression that Niki came to help and extract Rake. My reasoning is the movie shows us that Niki cares about Rake in several scenes (she even warns him against going to David Harbour’s character for help) and never really sets up Niki wanting to kill Rake for betraying the company. The problem is the movie is missing a “FUCK IT. We’re going in.” scene from her before the finale. She just… SHOWS UP at the end and it threw me off a little.

  16. For a movie where a guy named Tyler Rake kills a guy with a rake, I thought this was maybe a bit TOO dour at times. I personally would have liked a little more humor. But the action? Good Lord. Just awesome. I would definitely be down for a Tyler Rake franchise.

  17. “I’m curious, did anyone have any issues with the dead child making the hero sad motivation? It seemed like a lot of people have issues with that in other movies, like GRAVITY, so I was wondering if it bothered them here, too, and if not, why.”

    Maggie, I definitely had my qualms about the script choosing to utilize the without-question most lazy, overworked screenwriting cliche in existence. I brought it up in my comment on the BLACKHAT review, which I’ll just reproduce here for posterity:

    You guys are right: EXTRACTION is great. I was a little concerned when it broke out my #1 action movie pet peeve (Overlit Flashbacks To Ethereal Dead Loved One, Possibly On A Beach) within the first 30 seconds, but then, as if embarrassed of having to resort to such chicanery, it didn’t even bother bringing up its use of Generic Badass Redemption Motivation #1 for at least an hour so it could get right to murdering the fuck out of seemingly every third human being in Bangladesh. Seriously, I feel like the country is now ripe for a coup or something because my man Ty Rizzy took out their entire army.

    I like that Hemsworth finally gets to be Australian as fuck, throwing “mate” around with the kind of reckless abandon we haven’t seen since Paul Walker apparently got paid by the “bro” on 2FAST2FURIOUS. I also appreciate how David Harbour is clearly relishing his new status as Special Netflix Guest Celebrity because it allows him to get as mega as he wants and no one can say shit. I bet when he was just a That Guy he used to try to throw in all these weird garbled line readings and directors made him tone it down. But now he’s at least #2 on the call sheet whenever he shows up for work and goddammit, he’s gonna say the lines the way he wants to say the lines. Old CIA Buddy isn’t exactly a plum role but he’s making the most of it. Good for him

  18. I’m actually more annoyed by kids movies, where the underaged protagonists have at least one dead parent. Hollywood is totally making the kids, who have two healthy parents, feel like weirdos! It’s like there is a law against showing a kid NOT mourning the loss of a loved one.

  19. Huh, I’d forgotten that Hemsworth was in A Perfect Getaway. Perhaps forgotten is wrong as the last time I saw it was before I’d seen him in anything else.

    2008 must have been a crazy year for him. He went from being in an Aussie soap to filming three movies (Cabin in the Woods, Star Trek & A Perfect Getaway). Of course, the Star Trek work was probably only one or two days of filming for him.

    According to the commentary track on Cabin in the Woods, while filming it he was waiting to hear if he had gotten the Star Trek part. If Cabin hadn’t been shelved for two years, 2009 would have been quite the debut year for him.

  20. CJ: It’s all part of the same cynical screenwriting formula whereby a writer who has no faith that the audience will form a bond with his/her protagonist simply because of their personality and behavior will throw in some emotional manipulation to force viewer sympathy. It’s a cheap patch to get an audience to feel something. As an added bonus, it generates a pre-made redemption arc whereby the writer can present any premise whatsoever (solving a murder, surviving a catastrophe, rescuing an innocent, uncovering the mysteries of a haunted house, fighting albino alligators—literally ANY plot will work) as symbolic of the mourning process. I try to let it slide because complaining about something so omnipresent is like complaining about gravity (although I have done more than my share of complaining about GRAVITY) so whenever it crops up I just have to hope that it doesn’t overwhelm the film. To screenwriters: This lazy contrivance may be how you convince yourself that your potboiler script has actual weight, and perhaps it even works, but never, ever delude yourself into thinking that this artificial subtext is the reason anyone is seeing your movie. EXTRACTION, I think, gets away with it because it gives some motivation to Rake’s personality and choices but does not distract from the premise of the film the way it does in, say, THE REVENANT and other self-embarassed genre films.

  21. Though you have to wonder what screenwriters really think of human nature. Like, they feel they need to contrive a deeply personal motivation for a protagonist to NOT ABANDON AN INNOCENT CHILD TO AN ARMY OF VICIOUS MURDERERS. You’d think the kind of sociopathic asshole who could do that and live with himself would be the anomaly that needs to be explained through backstory, not the other way around. I’m cool with heroes doing heroic shit because it’s the right thing do with no other explanation, but that seems to have fallen out of fashion. Now everything needs to be explained by simple Plot Algebra: Backstory A + Premise B = Resolution C. Maybe I’m just naive, though. Seeing how callously a HUGE chunk of the populace reacts to tragedies that are not their own, maybe screenwriters are right and “because only an inhuman monster would do otherwise” is not a believable motivation anymore.

  22. I would deal with writers and they are addicted to the idea of arcs. If the hero chooses to protect the kid just because he’s a good guy, then where’s his arc? Arcs are fine but I’d always argue with them, you don’t always need an arc. Walter Hill didn’t tend to use arcs, what was the character arc in The Warriors? Or James Bond? Or Indiana Jones? It’s hacky writing.

    Now of course you CAN have arcs and sometimes that makes for better movies. But it’s not needed.

  23. I’m fascinated by the premise that character arc is some new fad cooked up by Hollywood hacks. Who knew? Must tell Shakespeare and Dostojevski, among thousands of other classic writers.

  24. To anyone with a center channel problems this is rare since the Atmos editing workflow was created and became the primary tool for mixing and rendering every modern theater, physical media, streaming, even DVD from a single 11.3 master. Except for DTS-X sound misers now have a single tool versus Dolby’s earlier policy of selling licenses to different standards for the use on non-audio-focused editors to make multiple intermediates that were run through of a variety of tools geared to output markets rather than audio editors where a third-party coded against a library and expected Dolby’s documentation to be correct and they’re the audio experts, our code works, let’s make our license fee back rather than going into a room with the maximum output channels of the 3 formats of the times and listen for significant differences such as the center being silent or split across the front and mixed or the left coming out of the right, all valid output scenarios but options you didn’t activate and you find out the Dolby Digital Encoder was set to 4.1 as default.

    I’m no audiophile but have and interest in all things cinema business history/being at odds with auteurs, technologies and so much more and understand some directors sit on audio editor’s shoulders and micromanage a creative process they can believe they understand but that why they hired this guy, we think he’ll at least break even, it has name recognition and sci-fi visuals and was cheap and we need to generate x number of films with an average rental return of y to cover x plus z as the overhead which extra worrisome people would pick the highest modifier and this the lowest profit but almos a lock while I’m equally certain I’ll have leftovers and won’t know what to do (which is the most common cause of a silent center, so directors or movies released in between major technology transitions are the most common problem on the manufacturer side which while not insignificant is far less often the answer than end-user error often unaware of an important setting once you’ve moved past the stereo,of a consumer TV to anything from the lowliest soundbar to as many speakers as you can afford and can distance far enough in your media room because you’re already sold of immersive enveloping wall-and-ceiling hugging 3D soundscape, this one simple setti h which is never in the same place and plus be a physical or PSD setting but I really, really, digress..) used wide stereo because a certain percentage of theaters had bought into that (and took Sony cash to support SDDS, Sony’s Dolby/DTS “competitor”) and wide stereo was a common theater format that would decode properly today and serve an audience no matter how wide or narrow the seating was as long as the the speakers were spaced properly from front row to back was getting great sound and as close to identical sound as seat spacing harmonics and your own auditory health will ultimately have an effect that on an individual level neither theater owner or sound editor can compensate for. Center speakers were not really designed to scale, there was testing on potential use in auditoriums, but center was more “center speakers are the easiest sell for surround sound newbies, the original center s-speaker (the mono TV) hadn’t been a common option since the ‘70s and despite more market penetration than eardemoing 3.1 is enough of a taste to play 5.1 and 7.1 and recommend the middle solution for some “I’m an expert they’ll respond to that” or “I’ll tell them about 11.3 and it’s both the right thing and more likely have them suggest buying the more expensive option since they want to not think about coming in next year having saved and worked overtime to buy 11.3 only for you to now talk about 50.12 Wide stereo was the cheapest upgrade option to get an older theater to the Lucasfilm requirements with the booking of The Phantom Menace and despite the legacy of that film and early problems with the digital delivery system George was trying to leverage expected huge profits push through unproven technology countrywide to serve his plans for the next two films which he was going to use to sell the next big THX push (which was actually an old push using better technology, the 3D sets of TRON but now we can also use plates and multiple computerized camera passes for seamless digital overlays against moving backdrops without the natural focus issue fabric green screens caused.

    Supporting the legacy formats and hearing complaints about every single piece of licensed software and saw the extra work of hiring software engineers to design “Dolby Standard” they could gain control of a minor license fee directly from editors who filed an expense report so they wanted them to use that flexibility to bill Variable hours and get the studios to pay for the software so they they could get more people to consider 11.3 as it was designed at the licensed DAC level to the big amp manufacturers (like Denon, Yamaha) go to the creatives of one of the key after-shoot steps and be the Dolby Labs that reached out to The Simpsons to seed their THX head explosion parody bit for a month in theaters and got the theater owners and home owners excited over a true leap unlike expensive “4D” that was very expensive and required a separate chair for every potential person you might to entertain and you still have really seen a return on the last speaker upgrade. And wide stereo was already an output option and would simulate Atmos which the home marketing department could now try to juice the home electronics people to use the uninteresting to them bit but easy to close the mid-home-theatre market all the way up to the people rich enough to deploy 11.3 despite there being no consumer amps with 11.3 speaker posts and it’d be a year before they’d show up, but it was the “future-roofing” they were excited to make an industry standard (even if DTS always has legacy belief that is was better while also usually being second to market and despite parallel development tracks that turned out similar results through vastly different techniques and usually a few extra options to juice their superiority legacy). The delicious irony is that buy gearing toward a format that even if it never penetrated the larger home market there would be show up screening rooms and home theaters that wanted to show off and this market gap gave them a year to sell the editors or using the highest end and trusting the other formats got the best downgrade possible they could remove redundant headphone comparisons from they’re workflow and Dolby is all about down and people know us and hey a Dolby guy is here watching me use Avid’s or Final Cut’s or Premiere’s capable but inefficient audio tool and he stopped be and bit the shortcut to export the raw track and then loaded it into Dolby’s new software, dragged the standard stereo tracks into a place, hit a button where the Dolby Stereo filter was applied and that took part of the sound out of left and right and put a bit on either side based on how their decoder chips have been doing this to create fake back channel for decades, and now the editors could really simulate the different environment rather that that one technology not being part of the workflow because Dolby thought they new best and you could trust the chip to do its thing. My read of the interview was enough of Dolby’s marketing and sales force watching editors do stuff in front of them with this new editor that they had never even seen, the larger Dolby Labs corporate culture finally learned why a certain group would always prefer DTS and DTS X was very different in movie sound that’s where they normally differed (music and virtual surround): DTS was about crafting the audio and making sure when the editor signed off on it so now the director and possibly producers were going to sign off or request changes they were all working from the same end product, no longer did a certain group joke, “excepted what that tortured 1992 version of the Dolby Surround DAC is gonna do to it in Joe Blow’s Walmart special soundbar. And a laugh was had (I assume every one has tuned out by now so I’m gonna continue to ramble before ending with actually useful advice/help while joining how technical support has changed in 40 years, look for all of them! )

    That unknown bothered fewer people you would think in that industry, but they acknowledged that ever since color had been introduced the color correction and film people had to live with tint and other knobs being turned and the consumer screaming the colors are messed up when that little flap had been down to plug into the front AV Jack and while pushing the wires their had slipped and palm unwitting turned each knob a little bit which was noticeable even on a news broadcast but much more of and issue on color timed progressive 24fps that live retransmission 30 or 60fps with studio filling lights. Generally Dolby’s software was gonna be used no matter what but the personal visits did work and they couldn’t claim 100% of editors onboard their current feedback made that concern negligee. They’d have demo content now, probably a few more social editors may create their own demos which we can then expand our demonstrations to see, the few holdouts, and with a few months new movies would hit theaters that would sound great and sell owners on planning to upgrade, and had elicited multiple steps in the workflow theater previously focused of theatrical, and only after the run ended would they follow up with home video mixes because their experience was the fewer speakers and less spread at home meant they had artificially pump up the channels at this point creating artificial db and potential distortion that they would hear because each of their speakers was wide versus a mix of mid, small and high at the home. As Dolby learned of how their “science” served the end user in one way, it actually had negative impact on new film until now when they eliminated the third-party licensees and decided to be as concerned with the people putting the music mix together as those would listen to it.

    And that info dump which actually only needed a short share of options, I was taken back to 1984 and answering support calls at ComputerLand that were mostly solved by “is it plugged in? Is it turned on?” twofer, no one here provide the details needed to actually help. I can assume you have a center channel, but is it 2.1, 5.1 or 7.1. Are you using an amp? If so is the device playing the disc plugged directly into the amp or are you plugged into the TV and using ARC? And finally, the true “is it turned” on question for this issue: if the TV is not part of your audio experience have you actually turned off the TV’s setting to play audio rather than just turning down the volume to 0. If you’ve done the latter depending on your cabling it could be just turning off that seething because the audio sees the TV as the center speaker first, and turning the volume down doesn’t push the center channel to your center speaker, it just mutes the whole channel as priority is : is the TV a speaker? If yes than in 4.1 Audi, there’s no audio out of center by design, but previewing DD5.1+/Atmos 7.1 and even Stereo will now come out of center, but clipped by your manually db adjustment that was needed in the mid-aughts as Yamaha fought for the consume and prosumer market that some manufacturers didn’t want to buy a competitors chips they found their DACs elsewhere and cheaper but it’s because it’s range was limited by the smaller part design flaw that generally produced lower quality output to speakers and the volume was covering up the lower quality rather than correctly a common chip they assumed was the cause of volume reduction rather than the executives of the studio saving a few pennies and believing they were helping by dumping more projects as once which meant two editors edited two movies over 2 weeks rather than 4 which is money saved and gives us a chance to massage marketing or theater roll-out instead of the reels arriving and going out immediately to hit screens. So a bunch of assumptions out three parties involved of the movie music mix aspect of post-production acting as many variables to narrow down your issue it’ll prolly be something that isn’t the creatives fault at all, it’s user error. Summer of ‘84.

    If all that is far more confusing an uninteresting than the Geneva Convention allows if you are affected by the center channel issue please check the TV setting first (and depending on how old your tv it was not be fixable if audio passes through the TV) then respond here with your setting: blu-ray player type, cable from player to what, and if “what” is an amp fun the speaker test to make sure center is working in the current input (most amps allow you too alter setting at the input level so while cable is working center somehow this input it’s turned off or speaker size is wrong and sound is just muffled because frequencies are being pushed to the front surrounds to compensate for that speaker size setting. But it’s probably the TV thing… or test some other discs before coming back so I don’t have to tell you to go do that next before I can continue diagnosing…my surly support attitude isn’t really manifesting, I’m worried it requires the lowly social hierarchy to riff rather than this typing into the wind.

  25. CJ, I think the idea that kids who have two healthy parents are weirdos, is popular because screenwriters all over the world are bitter divorced people who use childrens grief as a weapon against their former partner.

  26. Hello everyone! On the technical side:
    I have 2 5.1 setups in my home. I’m also a sound engineer myself. This movie seemed to have a serious compression throughout its run which is very problematic for home cinema users and is usually employed on audio from TV channels. In layman’s terms: whenever we would come into an action scene the sound would fluctuate highly with every gunshot or other loud sound, bringing the music down and then back up immidiately after.

    On the movie side. I seriously think the patronage of this site (me included) is so thirsty for good action that we are ready to leave story aside completely.
    I haven’t seen a movie SO clichéd for a reaaallyy long time. Loner? Check. Impossibly situated home where cleaning hasn’t happened since ww2? Check. Trauma from loosing a loved on (just the trauma. Not even an explanation on how or why)? Check. Good guy who is the ABSOLUTE BEST EVER (if not superman) but without the buildup of say a John Wick to justify it? Check. Bad guy who is SO BAD it borders into parody? Check. Gloomy character interludes between the action where the dialogue is downright WRETCHED and you wish they would stop talking and continue killing? Check.

    I really liked the action sequences even though (and Vern I thought you would have written up on this) they are an amalgam if not outright theft of other better movies. This movie should be paying the raid movies alimony. But still, well made. But the story was BAD with capital letters and worst of all tottaly humorless. Having such a charismatic guy like Hemsworth as the lead and then treating him like Seagal is not fun. The movie tried soooo hard to be Uber-serious and gloomy. And the whole “saving one kid will give him closure” scenario becomes truly ridiculous when in order to achieve it, they kill HUNDREDS of people, many if not most of them police officers and soldiers who were merely following orders.
    I haven’t seen so many people die since the Rambo and commando days. In the end for every soldier and police officer dead, I started thinking about THEIR family and THEIR kids and how hundreds of orphans and widows were made to save the kid of a ruthless drug dealer. With the help of the man who coldly assassinated our hero’s friends on the boat!!!! Those guys might have had kids as well!!!!

    I’m starved for good action as well. And because of its good action I treated the rest like parody, laughed about it with the people I saw it with and gave it a passing 6 out of ten. But a GREAT movie as many of you said this ain’t. Just compare it to the ones it imitates. Compare the STAKES in those movies with the absolute ridiculousness of the plot here.

  27. I do love the idea that the “hazy image of child on beach” memory is now a trope, but honestly this is an old storytelling trope, not some hacky new deal. Like someone joked, authors back to Shakespeare have old trauma and redemption arcs. There are just only so many arcs like this that give motivation for a character to change over the course of the movie. “Loss of a loved one” has always been here and will be here. It formed the entire basis for Minority Report’s character arc. John Wick, contrary to his enemies, was not lashing out because of his dog and car…it was his dead wife and loss of the life he wanted. Riggs in Lethal Weapon. McClane in Die Hard (not dead wife, but loss of traditional family), Max in Mad Max, etc, etc. It isn’t lazy or (I love this) bitter writers lashing out against their ex, it is just one of the few choices. Action movies without a character arc over…something?…aren’t as good as those with something to lose, something to gain or some reason to change. Even if it is paper-thin (like in The Raid or whatever) it still adds a lot of seasoning. I love the trope of the heartless warrior who warms to humanity through interactions with other humans in the story to overcome something tragic in their past. It just works.

    On side note, I had same issue with the sound for dialogue. But damn, the gun shot sounds were awesome in this.

  28. Yes, but did Shakespeare specify that it had to be glimpses of out of focus Super-8 footage of playing on a beach?

  29. I think it depends on which folio you’re working from. The controversial third folio is the one that amends HAMLET to feature a flashback of Yorrick rolling around in a negligee beneath a bleached white sheet, but this version has generally been dismissed by modern scholars.

  30. “Yes, but did Shakespeare specify that it had to be glimpses of out of focus Super-8 footage of playing on a beach?”

    I always like that it’s specifically old super-8 footage, even in cases like this one* where Chris Hemsworth’s theoretical child could not possibly have been born earlier than the late 90’s. What’s with the antique AV equipment, dude? There was no point in that kid’s life that could not have been documented on a cell phone. By the time the kid was ten, we had fuckin’ blu-rays.

    * I’m assuming this trope is in EXTRACTION based on the context of the conversation; I have not actually seen it.

  31. I don’t think it actually was Super-8 in this one, but I’ve definitely seen non-Super-8-era Super-8 flashbacks. If it’s camcorder footage it’s usually a birthday party and they’re watching it on a TV, smiling through tears at certain parts.

  32. It’s just part of the natural process by which the representational evolves into the symbolic. Audiences used to associate Super 8 with their own memories, so it was intuitive for filmmakers to represent flashbacks that way. Now, the trope plays not on the audience’s relationship with the thing the symbol represents (of which they likely have none) but on their relationship with the symbol itself (its tradition of usage in previous films). It’s like how save buttons are still shaped like floppy discs. All cultural context for the symbolism has faded away but the iconography remains. Artifacts like this are common in spoken and written language in the form of idioms that make no sense in the modern parlance, and the visual lexicon is proving to be no different.

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