Extraction – Review

The idea of a team-up between The Russo Brothers and Chris Hemsworth outside of their MCU comfort zone was an intriguing one. Although not directing, the pair very much has their fingerprints all over the new Netflix drama that is Extraction and the early buzz was that it was an all-action movie with something for everyone. The end result doesn’t quite live up to the hype but it certainly has its moments.

A long-running feud between two Indian drug lords has just escalated when the son of one is kidnapped by the other. With a lack of resources available to the incarcerated drug lord, outside help, in the form of a mercenary team, are procured to steal the boy back before he meets a grizzly fate. At the head of the ground team is Tyler (Chris Hemsworth). Coaxed out of his downtime with a big payday, he heads into the city of Dhaka to seize the boy and return him to Dheli. Complications arise when it is found that the contract cannot be honoured due to a cash shortage and the fact that the city is locked down while Tyler is carrying out his mission.

Chris Hemsworth once again proves that he a great leading man. His physicality and charisma are in full effect here and he just about carries the film. He is convincing as an ex-special forces operative and throws himself into the many action scenes. His preparation and previous role within the MCU have rounded him off as a very watchable leading man. He is the biggest name on the production so all eyes are on his performance.

The film starts at the end with a cold opening in which Tyler apparently meets his demise. This short opening sets the tone for the film in terms of pacing and content. In a few minutes, the body count is racked up and the audience gets a solid flavour of the character. If only it could have expanded on that when it went back two days to the start of the drama. As the story unfolds we are presented with a series of very cliched characters who do exactly what you think they will do. Their motivations are telegraphed and their path is set and never deviated from.

So many of the almost exclusively Indian cast is only there to force the story along with exposition. It is a bit of a shame as there is good talent on screen. The character of Tyler is no less cliched. His frame of mind is informed by his past and through a series of blurred scenes from his mind, we get his back story teased out. In case we can’t figure it out there is then a scene where it is laid out using some really pointed questions and clunky dialogue.

The action is full-on and inventive which you would expect from Sam Hargrave, who has moved from stunt co-ordination to directing for this film. There is an eleven-minute sequence that closes off the first act which is sublime. It is done in a seemingly single shot and takes in gunfights, foot chases, knife fights car chases, death, and a lot of destruction. The camera twists and turns throughout the sequence, always with its focus on Tyler and how he conducts himself in the face of almost impossible resistance. It is a beautifully choreographed sequence and will long be remembered as the highlight of the film.

Unfortunately, this sequence is surrounded by a whole raft of scenes that basically do the same thing. Tyler shoots, bludgeons, or knifes bad guys in rapid succession. It becomes a little stale in a film with a near two hour run time. Even though he is shown to be human and gets injured there is little in the way of tension or concern for his safety as he seems to bounce back from all sorts of attacks. Hit by a car? Not an issue for the lad.

Extraction is a decent movie with some truly impressive action but is let down by a cliched script and poor use of some interesting supporting characters.

John McArthur
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