Extraction

Anthony and Joe Russo have made a huge name for themselves after directing some of the biggest and most successful films for Disney and Marvel Studios. They have done incredible work in putting those last two epic Avengers movies together, but my favourite of their superhero flicks that they made will always be Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That is a cracking film. So, once they finished Avengers: Endgame they moved on from Marvel & Disney and with the success they have had, they basically have free range to make and do any film they want to do. They have an adaptation of Nico Walker’s Cherry on the way, starring Tom Holland, Spider-Man himself. That I am eager to see after reading and enjoying the book. They recently produced 21 Bridges starring Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther himself. All these films are produced through their company, AGBO. As is this new film for Netflix: Extraction starring Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth.

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Extraction is written by Joe Russo and expertly directed by stunt man Sam Hargrave, who has worked on many films as a stunt man/stunt coordinator including Avengers: Endgame. He had some experience before with directing having done some short films prior to Extraction. Chris Hemsworth stars as Tyler Rake who is a mercenary hired to extract the son of a kidnapped and imprisoned drug dealer in Dhaka, India. The job turns into a fight for survival as Tyler attempts to get Ovi Mahajan (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) to safety. A lot of people want this kid dead. Luckily, Tyler is able to handle himself despite going through some hard times and is haunted by the death of his son.

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The action scenes are the main highlight of this film and it is why you should check it out, if you are a super fan of that stuff. The action sequences do at times feel like levels leftover from a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game, but they are extremely hard hitting and well-choreographed. They are thrilling to watch, and you can see and appreciate all the hard work the stunt men & women put into making these scenes. It is baffling how they are not acknowledged by any organisation, like The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. There is one long shot that goes on for about ten minutes or so and of course you can tell where they made the cuts in the editing room, but it is one hell of an action sequence and my favourite part of the film. It doesn’t just stick with one of the characters, it cuts and weaves and changes from different perspectives. It doesn’t just focus on Chris Hemsworth. It is seamless to an extent but it keeps the tension and excitement going and it is nicely filmed. Everything from the sound design to the cinematography to the editing makes the whole sequence work. It is a strong action film debut from Sam Hargrave who could easily go off to direct another action film with a bigger budget and a large scale story after making this.

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The action is all well and good, but I think where the film massively falters, is in the characterisation and the storyline. It doesn’t screw around and jumps right into the action and I like that. You want to get to things quickly. That’s all well and good but there is not enough substance to really emotionally attach yourself to the movie. It will appease those who came for the action like me, and like I said before the action was good and nicely handled. I will say it does go to some extremely violent places, especially one scene involving children on a rooftop. I was not expecting such heavy violence. It may prove off putting to some and might not be in everyone’s tastes. It borders on the vibe of violence in something like The Raid. The script by Joe Russo is not trying to express something or make a point, it is simply an action film. For my liking as someone who does like action films in general, it did need to be a bit more. Chris Hemsworth was good even if his character is a little one note. He is of course mostly well known for playing Thor and he is excellent at playing him. Some may disagree, but he is actually good in other films outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (like Bad Times at the El Royale) despite some of them not doing him justice and utilising him properly. I don’t think he does something of that much worth in Extraction but he is charismatic enough to keep the film together. However, it is fair to say that Chris Hemsworth is the white saviour of this film and there’s no doubt about it. While watching I could not help but think what the film would have been like and felt like if the majority of the focus was on Saju played by Randeep Hooda. His character as well as his story arc was more emotionally engaging than that of Tyler Rake, whose character despite being played well by Hemsworth does fringe on cliché. Saju and Ovi already have a pre-existing relationship and Randeep Hooda played him proficiently. He was great in his action scenes.

The film is quick to get to the action and thrill the audience but there is not much of personality in the script. It was not a disappointment or an abject failure but again did need some vital substance. Had it been written by anyone else than Joe Russo and this may have been their first script, studios and producuers probably wouldn’t have taken much interest in it. Given the fact one half of the mighty Russo Brothers wrote it and they produced it, Extraction was awarded the fast greenlight. Considering the people involved in making Extraction, you do come with it with some high expectations that don’t all get met. If all you want is action with a little dash of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, then you have come to the right place.

–       Anders

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