Honestly, if I were just to base a movie on its title, I wouldn’t give Extraction, the latest Netflix Original Film to be hosted on the streaming service, a second look. The really pedestrian sounding name simply invokes B-movie memories from me. Not the good ones, by the way. However, once I noticed it was starring Chris Hemsworth of Thor fame and the Russo Bros. from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Community (don’t think I would ever forget that!), I decided to give Extraction a shot.
Now that I did watch it, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with Extraction. But is it something you simply must watch right now? Well, that’s a whole different story…
While pretty much everyone who has a Netflix subscription has already watched this, I will still be making this a SPOILER FREE review on the off-chance you saw the very basic title and decided to skip it. So read on and be assured I won’t be revealing anything about the plot.
Anyway, Extraction stars Chris Hemsworth as Tyler Rake, a mercenary for hire with a tragic past. He’s hired to extract the son of a known drug cartel leader who was kidnapped by a rival drug overlord who rules a town in Bangladesh. While he is able to retrieve the boy, the mission goes sideways and now Rake must find a way out of the town while keeping the boy safe.
The biggest problem I have with Extraction is how, well, basic the plot. It’s not like they don’t try to throw in a few twists in there to keep things from being too boring. But they do come off as rather predictable for the most part. Also, even though the overall story is rather rudimentary, they try to throw a lot of characters at you who have their own backstories and motivations. I will give props for the Russo Bros. for trying to, at the very least, give personalities to all the characters in the film. However, at a certain point, it’s just too much and, with a runtime of just shy of 2 hours, you’re just never given time to really care for a majority of them. In fact, I didn’t really care about Chris Hemsworth’s tragic backstory because, while it’s the most well-developed, it’s never allowed to sink in with the audience regarding how he’s feeling.
Speaking of Chris Hemsworth, this is clearly his movie and, well, he does an adequate job in the acting department. I will even say that the entire cast here is very good. The weakest performance came from Rudhraksh Jaiswal, the kid who plays the kidnapped teen. However, I don’t really blame him for the rather average performance. It’s just that he’s never given the opportunity to really show that much emotion. There’s one pivotal scene that’s supposed to be heartwrenching for Chris Hemsworth’s character as the kid is talking to him. Unfortunately, the dialogue is so wooden and delivered in a very uncaring manner that it just threw me off.
What really impressed me about Extraction was the action scenes. I mean, all the action scenes were very exciting and phenomenally shot and choreographed! There is some shaky camera but it’s used very minimally and just enough to show how hectic the action is; it’s never done to hide the action. The fights have this hyper-realistic feel to them; it looks real but, at the same time, you know that’s not how it should happen. Well, the fight scenes should be really good because it was directed by first time director Sam Hargrave. This may be his directorial debut but the man has been mapping out the stuntwork for films like Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame.
In fact, the highlight of Extraction doesn’t happen at the end of the film, but rather near the start. There is one action sequence that was stitched together to look like one long take and it’s stunning! You can tell where the cuts come in at times and there are some spots where things look like CGI to cover up the splices. But, while it’s running, it does look very seamless! What makes this even more amazing is that they do practically every kind of action setpiece in this one long shot! There’s a car chase. There’s a shootout. There’s some stealth action. There’s some parkour and even some hand-to-hand combat somewhere in there! It’s a very ambitious undertaking but, man, they really pulled it off for the most part.
Now, the question is, does the action setpieces make up for the bland overall plot and very predictable story? In my opinion, it does indeed. The action here is that good, especially that one long seamless shot. However, I will have to give Extraction a half-hearted thumbs up because of the really lame story. I may have liked the characters but I never really fell in love with them nor did I completely care about their motivations and if they succeed or not. Things just slow down too much and the emotional scenes just don’t do anything but make you want to get to the next heart-pumping action setpiece.
If you have access to a Netflix account and a couple of hours to spare and, really, if you’re stuck at home because of the current situation in the world (Tip for readers from the future: look up the biggest news story in 2020), who doesn’t have that kind of time? I say give Extraction a watch because it’s a really good time waster with some really, really good action scenes.
Have you seen Extraction? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!