It is always refreshing when a movie is exactly the thing the trailer promises it will be.
“Extraction” is the latest vehicle for Chris Hemsworth to attempt and establish himself outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and follows a black ops mercenary who must rescue a drug lord’s kidnapped son from a rival dealer in Bangladesh. Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Pankaj Tripathi, Randeep Hooda, Golshifteh Farahani, Suraj Rikame and David Harbour also star. Career stuntman Sam Hargrave makes his directorial debut, as “Avengers” directors Joe and Anthony Russo produce.
While they long-ago perfected the television binge and seem to have a grasp on Oscar movies, Netflix has been trying to compete in the big-budget blockbuster game for a while now. Their first attempt back in 2017, “Bright” starring Will Smith, was a critical failure but a hit with the views. Other attempts, the overly expensive but solid adult actioneer “Triple Frontier” or the brainless “6 Underground” from Michael Bay, have also failed to make a lasting impression. “Extraction” may not stay on the mind for very long after watching it, but while you’re on the ride it provides several standout action sequences.
I have long been a fan of Chris Hemsworth, and really want him to find his niche outside playing Thor. He seems to be enjoying the character now that it was reinvented by (Oscar winner) Taika Waititi, but I have always thought he was at his best and most-natural as the supporting player in comedies, like the “Vacation” and “Ghostbuster” reboots. He has tried his hand at dramas and lighter action pieces before, but this is the first time I think he was able to really find something that worked for him. His character development is pretty thin, but Hemsworth is able to get one emotional scene in that he does a pretty good job with. But, for the most part, he is running around with a gun, and for the sake of the story he does a convincing job doing that.
Since this follows in the footsteps of “John Wick” and has a stuntman in the director’s chair, the action sequences here are all very well put together. For the most part the camera isn’t too close or shaky, allowing the audience to take in the fights and the actors to actually put on a convincing bout. There is a sequence in the middle of the film that includes several car chases, a shootout and a knife fight, and it is shot and is edited to look like one continuous eight-minute take. The individual moments in the scene are very impressive entertaining, but unlike a “Revenant” or “1917” the spots where they stitch the (at least four) separate shots together are a bit obvious, if not distracting. I love a one-take, but feel it must have some sort of purpose, not just to show off.
The script by Joe Russo is, fine. I don’t think he set out to write the next “Social Network” or anything, just need excuses to get characters from A to B. There are some awkward bits of dialogue (although also a couple entertaining quips), and the ending is, well, something. There is also a lot of violence and a comically high bodycount, and while I’m fine with that since this is, well, an action movie, I know some people have lines even with R-rated films, so just a heads up.
“Extraction” is certainly a take-it-or-leave-it movie, in a “you’re stuck at home right now anyways, so how picky can you really be about the things you watch?” way. The actors all do a solid job, and the gunplay and hand-to-hand combat sequences are well put together. Could it use a little more meat on its bones? Sure. But for being locked in my house and going on nearly two months without movie theaters, “Extraction” was a welcome mindless treat.
Critics Rating: 7/10