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5 action films to check out on Netflix after ‘Extraction’

5 action films to check out on Netflix after ‘Extraction’

5 action films to check out on Netflix after ‘Extraction’
May 01
12:00 2020

So, Netflix’s “Extraction” came out last week.

While the film as a whole is pretty weak, the action was incredibly well-done, especially for a Netflix Original, potentially rivaling some of the best American stuff like “John Wick,” “The Fast and the Furious” and the “Bourne” films. Still, it could have been better in other areas and it is outclassed by a lot of movies on the platform.

There are the classics like “The Matrix,” “Lethal Weapon,” “Ip Man” and more. Then there are lesser-known, rough gems. Obviously, you should check out the classics, but these others are some fun ways to pass the time.

5. “The Foreigner” (2017)

This film is directed by Martin Campbell and stars Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan. Chan plays Ngoc Minh Quan, a Nung Chinese veteran of the Vietnam War, whose daughter is killed in an IRA terror bombing. Seeking answers from Bronsnan’s deputy First Minister Liam Hennessy, Quan sets out to find the people responsible and use his special set of skills to put them down. This is probably the most well-known flick on the list, but also a bit forgotten I feel. It’s also more of a grim, slow-burn thriller.

That being said, it’s always a blast watching Chan get to show off. It’s also a breath of fresh air to see him in an enjoyable movie from the West after so many flops here. Despite his age, Chan is still a physical force to be reckoned with. While he is still impressively limber and agile, Quan is a rougher sort of character whose primary skills are entrenched in guerilla warfare — he uses bombs, hit-and-runs and combines his agility with firearms, something you don’t often see with Chan’s characters. The fight choreography and direction are all thrills — rough enough to get your attention, yet clear enough so that everything is communicated clearly. This film is realistically brutal, tense and pulls no punches.

4. “Furie” (2019)

Directed by Le-Van Kiet and starring Veronica Ngo, a retired gangster’s (Ngo) daughter is kidnapped, and she isn’t pleased. A simple plot, much like the setup for “The Foreigner,” though it gives way to more traditional, scrappier martial arts mayhem.

It’s also distinct in that it’s one of the few films to showcase Vovinam, a martial art native to Vietnam going back to 1938. Given how it’s also a rare lady-led action film, where the hero is a mother no less, further makes it a novelty. The action is masterfully composed, with only a little bit of shaky cam really being irritating.

The visuals are also a treat, with Vietnam’s natural beauty giving way to seedy underbellies bathed in flashes of pink and purple neon. It would be the most visually pleasing feature on the list, if not for “Shadow.”

3. “Avengement” (2019)

Directed by Jesse V. Johnson and set in the slums of Britain, Scott Adkins stars as Cain, an escaped convict who looks to take revenge on the gangsters who wronged him. It’s a film about ugly people and the ugly world they inhabit. Johnson and Adkins are regular collaborators and when it comes to lower-budgeted stuff, and it’s hard to go wrong with them.

Adkins is one of the more underrated action stars and he’s honestly a pretty decent actor and a far better fight performer. Here, he gets what may be a career-best as Cain, a man with nothing to lost who’s carrying a lot of pain with him. Craig Fairbrass also gets a good supporting role here, and if he seems familiar, he voiced Ghost in “Modern Warfare 2.”

I also appreciated Johnson going for a non-linear structure, with the framing device of Cain confronting those who wronged him giving ways to flashbacks that both build his character and deliver some fantastic brawls. While flashbacks can be an overused and especially lazy trope, these add to what we’re witnessing. The brawls themselves are possibly the best yet depiction anyone will see of East End fisticuffs, which really sell not only the skill Cain has but the raw violence he inflicts and receives from everyone he faces.

At a breezy 88 minutes, this is a no-brainer. When it comes to British gangster action, “The Gentlemen” wishes it was this savage.

2. “The Night Comes For Us” (2018)

This film is directed by Timo Tjahjanto and stars Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim and Julie Estelle. A top-tier Triad enforcer (Taslim) has reservations about his occupation and defies orders to protect a young girl. His superiors aren’t pleased and send everyone they can to kill the two.

The action is glorious. Indonesian martial arts are mixed in with gunplay, car chases, ambushes and all kinds of crazy means to kill a man. The actors and fighters all sell the believability of this hyper-violent world, with multiple separate people being able to take on hordes of lowly fledglings who get eviscerated by bullets, machetes, explosives and even a billiard ball at one point! These are action and stunt masters in their prime and working at the peak of their craft.

This is an action film of the purest kind — low on plot, skyscraper-high on violence and bone-shattering combat. Or this case, flesh-tearing. Out of all the films here, this is by far the goriest. Tjahjanto has a background in horror and it shows. If you are squeamish, do not watch this movie.

If you loved Gareth Evan‘s “The Raidfilms, which this shares a lot of the same cast with, then I can’t see any way you would want to miss this. This is by far the craziest the film, though it is not the most creative if only for.

1. “Shadow” (2018)

“Shadow” is directed by Yimou Zhang, starring Chao Deng and Li Sun. During a war between two kingdoms, a decoy military genius devises a plan to overcome all obstacles, both physical and political.

I won’t discuss the plot much since it’s actually kind of intriguing and has underpinnings of a political thriller. The acting is also pretty strong from everyone involved, though not too much from me to say on that front.

Then there’s the action. My God. I’m not even sure how to describe most of it. All sorts of crazy, seemingly impractical weapons are used here, like the signature bladed umbrella thing, which is just wow.

Every frame is breathtaking, with the colors looking like they came from a skilled artist’s paintbrush. Gray and desaturated color work can be boring and dull, yet here the different shades of gray and lower colors are absolutely breathtaking. The visuals are exquisite and this is by far the most beautiful film here.

This is a bit niche, but if you really liked wuxia movies like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” I would say this is definitely up your alley.

Featured Illustration: Jae-Eun Suh

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Will Tarpley

Will Tarpley

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