The new action thriller film Extraction, currently streaming on Netflix, is an absolute shot of adrenaline for you to give your day. If you’re looking for something you haven’t seen before that can 100 percent guarantee some excitement for quarantine life, this is the title to push play on. Extraction is the story of a hardened mercenary, Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), tasked with rescuing the kidnaped teenage son of an imprisoned Indian drug lord. If that sounds like it’s ticking absolutely every action movie box there is, it’s because it does.
Rake is the idyllic action hero here and embodies all the classic tropes. He’s troubled with the loss of a child, dealing with chronic pain, pill addiction and a job that fills his voids with killing rather than healing. If the name feels too cliché or over the top… I agree. But when you see him kill two adversaries with- and I’m not joking here- a rake, you begin to understand what this movie is all about. It’s a formulaic yet clever take at the ultimate action flick. Or at least it’s trying to be. Directed by Sam Hargrave, who ran stunt coordination for Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame, and backed by a script penned by MCU director Joe Russo, this film has all the essential action pieces.
At the core of Extraction amongst all the vicious violence and destruction that ensues is Rake’s personal journey. His original mission becomes more of a moral quest to do what is right rather than do what’s best for himself. When the extraction goes to hell and new agendas come to light, Rake decides to take matters into his own hands in an attempt to get the kid to safety. This duels as a pseudo redemption story to make up for not being there when his son died of cancer years prior. The kidnapping of Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the son of an Indian drug kingpin by the fictional “Pablo Escobar” of Bangladesh gets the ball rolling, and from then on out, this movie does not stop. It moves quickly and hits hard with awe-inspiring action sequences that take what you think is possible to the next level.
It doesn’t take long for Rake to acquire his target, but it’s what ensues after where the real joy ride starts. Though it’s more like a “Coney Island Cyclone”-style old-school wooden rollercoaster that jolts and jerks your entire body. I guarantee while watching that you’re going to be on the edge of your seat, as the evil regime of Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli) will stop at nothing to get Ovi back in his clutches. With overarching power and control of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Asif dispatches military officials to shut down the city and hunt for the boy.
And that’s when s*** really hits the fan. Action sequences are very reminiscent of the John Wick films in style, execution and a willingness to push boundaries, which isn’t surprising given the film’s personnel. Long shots without obnoxious quick cuts are utilized to show the rapid stream and uncertainty of modern combat on all fronts. We got car chases, we got helicopters, we got missiles, we got hand-to-hand combat. All the brutality, all the vividness in all the right and even cringeworthy ways.
Extraction is a badass movie; make no mistake about it. But I worry with a critical lens that all of its badassery might be overpowering to the point where the important stuff, the real guts of the movie, aren’t praised or respected enough by casual viewers. The story, based on a graphic novel that the Russo Brothers had a hand in writing, infers a very strong backing of formulaic and critical story elements needed for a blockbuster hit. And it’s all there: the emotion, the motivation and the drive behind Rake’s decision-making- it all checks out, and I bought in. But sadly it doesn’t feel like the story is front and center.
There’s also an element of wit and humor that I felt was missing from Extraction, something that the John Wick films regularly lean into. I understand that tonally these films are meant to be different, but I think it could’ve added an extra valuable layer in helping Hemsworth dive into his character more. Given the movie’s emphasis on action, it’s understandable to a degree; this isn’t meant to be a deep character study.
Verdict 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Overall, Extraction is an awesome action flick that’s definitely worth the watch and another great example of the Russo Brother’s work. Backed up by Chris Hemsworth’s solid performance and even a cameo from David Harbour as one of Rake’s seemingly allied mercenary friends, the brief dialogue and hurried non-violent interactions are still executed well. If you’re looking to be emotionally invested in something other than just watching cars explode, this somewhat scratches that itch.