Review: Extraction

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Extraction manages to stand out among its contemporaries, even if it isn't one of the genre's best.

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Extraction is one of the latest original movies coming out of Netflix. The actioner stars Chris Hemsworth and is directed by first-timer Sam Hargrave, with a screenplay and producer credit for Joe Russo. With Hargrave doing stunt work on a number of Marvel movies, the Russo brothers (Joe’s brother Anthony also serves as producer here) directing the last two Avengers films, and Hemsworth well-known for his Thor role, this seems to be a reunion of sorts. The film sees Hemsworth play Tyler Rake, an ex-special forces mercenary on a suicide mission to recover a drug dealer’s son in gangland Bangladesh.

If Extraction feels reminiscent of plenty of other action films to you, you’re not alone. However, like the John Wick series, Hargrave manages to take what is an unspectacular story and turn out a fun, adrenaline-fuelled ride. This is mostly a testament to the talent behind it, as you can tell Extraction was a passion project for all involved. Hemsworth finds his footing quickly and cements himself as a capable action star through and through, tested in physically demanding sequences and lengthy continuous takes. The hand-to-hand combat on display comes close to the level of John Wick and The Raid, which is high praise for a star mostly known for wielding a foam hammer – and the stunt team helping him. One fight scene with a karambit, a small Indonesian claw knife, feels like a subtle nod to a similar scene in The Raid 2. Extraction shows that Hemsworth’s talents extend beyond the realm of superhero movies.

Despite the broadly generic story, there are some interesting elements. The film is set in both India and Bangladesh and, despite what the trailers show, leans into these settings confidently. Most of Extraction is spoken in the native languages, with appearances from actors popular in Hindi films. These are nice touches that pay respect to the locations. On the topic of nationality, Hemsworth has finally been allowed to play an Australian character again. Amusingly, the star has discussed in the past how strange it felt getting to use his real accent for the Ghostbusters reboot.

The most disappointing aspect of Extraction is the ending, which was reportedly changed as a result of test screenings. Its ambiguity does the film no favours. One of the subplots also plays out in a particularly annoying way. Hargrave doesn’t always seem to have a firm grasp on tone, and it suffers from a severe case of evil characters being so evil that it’s almost comical. In fact, the film is darkly funny in a way that doesn’t quite seem intended. This crops up in a scene where Rake is fighting some child/teen soldiers. Hemsworth breaks some arms and slaps a teenager across the face at least twice, then calls them the “Goonies from hell” or something along those lines. Though it is genuinely quite funny, you are aware that you’ve just watched Chris Hemsworth maim a bunch of kids and joke about it. This doesn’t quite fit with what is otherwise a fairly dark narrative.

Extraction, directed by Sam Hargrave, is available to stream now via Netflix, certificate 18. 

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