In an underworld of weapons dealers and traffickers, a young boy becomes the pawn in a war between notorious drug lords. Trapped by kidnappers inside one of the world’s most impenetrable cities, his rescue beckons the unparalleled skill of a mercenary named Tyler Rake, but Rake is a broken man with nothing to lose, harboring a death wish that makes an already deadly mission near impossible.
With the world pretty much confined indoors at the moment and cinema doors firmly closed, we are naturally clamouring for a new film release to sink our teeth into and whilst Extraction may not be to everyone’s taste, it does at least tick off a few of the boxes for what could be an adequate time-sink.
It stars one of Hollywood’s currently most popular leading men in the form of Chris Hemsworth as mercenary for hire Tyler Rake, and is produced by two of Hollywood’s current hot properties in the sibling team of Joe and Anthony Russo, with Joe also providing the script (based on the graphic novel Ciudad by Ande Parks).
Of course a major reason why both the Russo Brothers and Hemsworth command such attention is linked inexorably to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Hemsworth’s portrayal of The God Of Thunder not only being one of the most popular characters of The Avengers line-up, but also getting one of the best character arcs throughout the long-running series of films. The Russo’s of course have also been responsible for directorial duties on four of the films, including the box office record holding Avengers: Endgame and also (in my opinion), the best of the series in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Sam Hargrave, who not only worked alongside the Russo’s on three of their Marvel projects (ironically not The Winter Soldier though) as a stunt director/co-ordinator, but also found himself carrying the shield as Captain America as a stunt double for Chris Evans. A former stunt coordinator helming a movie isn’t exactly a new thing now after the success of the John Wick franchise and Extraction provides the same sort of frenetic, breakneck camera work and fights/stunts that we have come to expect from the ongoing adventures of the dog loving ex-hitman.
The plot, as explained above, is nothing new and is reminiscent of 2004’s Denzil Washington/Tony Scott team up, Man On Fire. However, what perhaps separates the two films is the depth of character attachment built in both films. Man On Fire definitely trumps Extraction in that department and although we are given little snapshots of the hero Tyler Rakes’ past, they mainly serve as a precursor to highlight why he’s such a badass. But let’s not get too bogged down in the negatives here. Extraction in its title alone, sounds like a generic, straight to DVD action movie, however the action here is served up in such a breathtaking fashion that it easily elevates itself way above that and kudos to all involved for making the film that they wanted to make.
Granted, a Russo Brothers project with a hefty Netflix budget does help but what the Director Hargrave has done here is have the freedom to make the movie that he wanted to make and in return we are presented with a hard R-rated action film, one that is not afraid to push the violence in the viewer’s face. I’ve noticed that this has caused some criticism from certain quarters, but for me, the tone of the movie sits just right. There are no cheesy one-liners, the film never veers towards the more fantastical world presented in the John Wick films and it’s confident enough to present the action in a down and dirty, brutal fashion. The action set pieces here are nothing short of spectacular and although Hemsworth has so far struggled with his movie choices outside of the realm of Asgard, it’s a bold choice for him to move outside of his “safety zone” of ‘buff looking dude with good comic timing’.
Would Extraction have fared well as a cinema release? Probably not. The character would have been retconned to the point of no return. The violence would’ve been toned down to get a more accessible rating and the movie would no doubt have suffered as a result. But as a streamed release it’s definitely got a shot at building up towards a potential sequel. The movie landscape has naturally changed of late, but in my humble opinion the tides of change were rolling in a few years before and in this brave new world there’s an opportunity for all tastes in film. If this type of movie isn’t to your taste, then Extraction won’t change your mind, but if you’re more inclined towards this type of thing, then it’s more than justified this month’s Netflix subscription. A sub-standard plot it may have but it’s ably bolstered by some top-notch action. Having gone in pretty much blind, Extraction proved to be a pleasant surprise for this particular action junkie.
Film ‘89 Verdict – 7/10
Stay safe my friends. Stay indoors as much as you can. Please support the people helping us all during this terrible moment in our history and watch Hemsworth kick ass!