Looking for an explosive action movie to help get you through quarantine? You’re in luck, as Netflix’s Extraction might be the closest thing to Call of Duty: The Movie we get.
Based on a graphic novel written by the Russo Brothers, the masterminds behind Captain America: Winter Soldier and Avengers: Infinity War, comes Extraction, a balls to the wall story about a mercenary with nothing to lose who must rescue the son of an Indian drug lord in Bangladesh. Going in and grabbing the boy may prove to be easy, but getting out alive is going to be one hell of a challenge.
One of the reasons I love the John Wick franchise, is the consistent action throughout each of the films – impressively, there is not a dull moment among the entire series. The films transition from skillfully choreographed set-piece to memorably dynamic set-piece, and all are bolstered by the presence of Keanu Reeves…I digress, this is not a review for John Wick, but Extraction. My point being, Extraction applies a similar principle to its film with a greater emphasis on its action sequences and is constantly throwing Chris Hemsworth back in the ring with more bad guys. While Extraction is no John Wick, it almost accomplishes its goal of always catching the viewers’ eye, with only the short breathes in between all the action leading us to possibly look at our phones.
Directed by first-time feature director Sam Hargrave, a Marvel Cinematic Universe veteran and stuntman/coordinator, Extraction is clearly advantaged by its director’s experience with stunts. The hand-to-hand combat is fast and hard-hitting, such as in an early scene where Hemsworth kicks and shoots his way through several enemies in an enclosed space with each punch being felt and seen. Gun standoffs and car chases that follow help make for an especially thrilling film. The film also largely takes place on the streets of Bangladesh and other crowded areas, which often offers Hemsworth an environment he can interact with in his fights – another aspect I think Hargrave utilized well.
Chris Hemsworth is up to the task as Tyler Rake, a badass black-ops mercenary just waiting to catch a bullet with his name on it. Hemsworth beats the hell out of guys, and gets the hell beaten out of him, but his skills go beyond that of his fists; in the film’s quieter moments, Rake is given a chance to open up and Hemsworth is able to make the film’s lackluster character development somewhat emotionally compelling. Maybe we like Tyler Rake only because he is played by Chris Hemsworth, or maybe we like him because Hemsworth is able to give the antihero a vulnerable side to balance his macho.
David Harbour makes a cameo, offering another familiar face to the film, but that’s all he has time to do as his screen time is cut short. An actor that surprised me, Randeep Hooda, plays Saju, another mercenary type with a lot in common with Rake; he puts up a good fight in his attempt to steal the boy. However, instead of having nothing left to lose, he has a lot left to lose as his own son is put on the line for his successful completion of his mission.
Extraction is more style than substance, always looking for ways to flash its stunts and muscle – however, it’s not as generic an action movie as I suspected it to be. Extraction is a readily available Chris Hemsworth action vehicle, and I’ll take it. With the film’s ambiguous ending, and it being one of Netflix’s most successful debuts, Extraction 2 already looks to be in the works. 7/10