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Reviews Extraction II (2023), Kandahar (2023) and Guy Ritchie's The Covenant (2023).

genre: action, adventure, thriller

Let's say I was genuinely surprised by Extraction. Not in a million years did I expect the film to deliver the top-notch action I was craving. But it did, and then some. It's safe to assume I was expecting more of the same, and it truly did. 

Perhaps dramatic wise it's a step-down from the original, then again on the action front you will have a blast. Granted, I do think that if you are one of the few people who criticized Carter (2022) for being too over the top and unrealistic, one could say the same of Extraction II. Except you will be missing the point. These films are never intended to bring you realistic action. The end goal is to bring you creative spins on action scenes you are familiar with. Gun fu can get boring if it consists of elements that are repeated constantly. It's therefore quite challenging to be fresh, but I think Sam Hargrave has managed to do that, and someone like me will always put that before a good story. 

It was real good to see Chris Hemsworth be a real man again. He was severely castrated in the last Thor film, I mean, what a travesty. No wonder that Hemsworth was eager to be in this sequel and the third one, yes, a third one is coming. And if they maintain the creativity and quality of these two films, I wouldn't mind more films in the franchise.

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Kandahar starts out quite confusing, almost in the same vein as the early Bourne films. But after twenty minutes, the film regains focus where the plot takes a backseat and where the action and thrills take over.

Butler as Tom Harris and Navid Negahban as Mohammad 'Mo' Doud are in quite the pickle and have to do whatever they can to flee from the military forces that are after them. I won't tell why, but it makes sense and that is all you need to know. While the premise has been done to death, I did find myself enjoying it due to the sheer charisma of Butler and exciting action sequences. 

One could argue that the film is a little bland. In hindsight, it definitely could have used more intrigue and dramatic impact. Still, I wasn't bored one bit. And in this day and age, that means a lot.

As much as I like Jake Gyllenhaal I do think he doesn't have quite the range as he himself believes. In this film, he plays a sergeant, but never truly convinces us that he has any real authority or experience. But like the character Ahmed played by Dar Salim, he will grow on you. 

Dar Salim truly is the saving grace of this film since he is the one you will root for right from the start. He is righteous, intelligent and a good man. But then gets left behind by the Americans, even if he was promised passage and a safe haven in the US. It's here where Jake's character shows some real balls and does what he can to go back to Afghanistan and rescue Ahmed. While this story does seem to have some similarities to Kandahar, Guy Ritchie's tale is far superior since it's not afraid to expose the hypocrisy and corruption that is rampant. 

I really liked this film and am glad that Guy Ritchie has proven he can do more than crime drama's.

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