Netflix actioner Extraction is the debut movie from stunt coordinator-turned-director Sam Hargrave, who worked with screenwriter Joe Russo on the Marvel films (Civil War, Infinity War, Endgame) Joe co-directed as one half of the Russo brothers. Extraction is based on the graphic novel Ciudad, which the Russo Brothers wrote alongside Ande Parks, with art by Fernando León González.
Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) is an Australian mercenary, hired to rescue and return Ovi Mahajan (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the son of a Bangladeshi drug lord who has been kidnapped by a rival. While still haunted by tragedy and courting a death wish, Tyler finds himself feeling the heat in the locked-down city of Dhaka, facing off against corrupt cops, rival drug gang members and shady special forces operative Saju (Randeep Hooda), who is also after Ovi.
What we have here is a tough action movie with some nicely executed set pieces and a reliably great performance from Hemsworth working in its favour. Slickly-crafted combat makes sense, since the Russo Brothers have ably demonstrated their action pedigree within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With The Winter Soldier in particular, being more of a paranoid action thriller than conventional superhero beat ‘em up. Plot-wise, Extraction is in classic save-a-kid territory. It sits firmly on the grittier side of the fence, though, like Man on Fire, rather than the more OTT exploits of Commando or underrated Jason Statham vehicle Safe.
With Tyler Rake, Hemsworth explores a much darker character than we are used to seeing him embody and it gives him a chance to demonstrate his range, while still proving why he’s an actor liked by almost everybody. Rudhraksh Jaiswal is also very good as Ovi, doing a good job at making us sympathise with the son of a drug lord. Randeep Hooda makes for a great adversary as Saju and there’s a neat small role for Stranger Things’ David Harbour.
While certainly entertaining, Extraction is just a touch too formulaic to move it into classic action territory. It’s a tricky thing to balance established formula with originality. Sometimes the most generic plotline lets a movie soar to the heavens, while at others it keeps one foot tied to the ground. In the case of Extraction, while it is really well put together, you’d be forgiven for finding yourself thinking about John Wick and The Raid much too often.
Perhaps a trashier sensibility might have been the way to go. Some Hemsworth wisecracks and a tight ninety minute runtime could certainly give Extraction a kick in the seat of its pants. But, let’s not suggest the movie isn’t worthy of your time.
Hargrave makes the leap from stunt co-ordinator to director very well. Impressive aerial shots depict the chaotic scenes of the city from above, before throwing us right into the thick of the action as the camera tracks through buildings to keep up with Tyler and Ovi’s escape. The cramped confines of the city streets are used to great effect, creating claustrophobic tension as the net closes in. There are also plenty of good close-quarter combat scenes, as people slap guns out of each other’s hands, blades are swung and, inevitably, baddies meet grisly comeuppances.
By the end, the film proves itself an entertaining two hours, and although it won’t make this writer’s ‘best of’ lists, it does its job well. Extraction is a solid slice of attention-diverting action cinema – and a pretty good choice for anyone’s isolation movie night.
SCREEN REALM SCORE: ★★★☆☆
‘Extraction’ can be seen on Netflix right HERE.