Extraction Movie Review
Amidst a genocide of movie theaters and a wasteland devoid of new major releases, Netflix, somewhat quietly, drops what could end up being the best action movie of the year this weekend. Extraction, starring Chris Hemsworth and written by Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo, is a violent, fast-paced shoot-to-survive action-thriller that certainly falls in the “brawn over brain” camp.
Hemsworth plays a black market mercenary who is hired to rescue a kidnapped Indian boy--the son of a crime lord--but finds the job upended and his options to get out alive narrowing minute by minute. There’s not much to the plot beyond that, but Russo’s barebone story, based on his own graphic novel Ciudad, is more than enough to support the nonstop violence that ensues.
The feature-length directorial debut for Sam Hargrave, who served as stunt coordinator for Endgame, Extraction is a brutal, gloriously violent onslaught of action scenes. While it never attempts to match the over-the-top but entrancing choreography of the John Wick movies, the various fight scenes bear similarity: at any given moment Hemsworth’s increasingly haggard character may be punching, kicking, shooting, stabbing or piercing through the head with a pitchfork various unnamed enemies.
From the first major action sequence, in which Hemsworth effortlessly lays to waste several baddies, to an impressively staged car chase, Extraction is the type of movie that should be experienced on the big screen--if it weren’t owned by Netflix, or if nearly every theater in the world were shut down.
Even if the somewhat generic plot or overly serious tone may turn off some audience segments, it’s hard to deny that Extraction is a step up from Netflix’s other original action movies--most notably Triple Frontier, which received much more fanfare when it was released last year despite being instantly forgettable.
The film’s biggest weakness is that as good as Hemsworth is, his character is utterly generic. Some could say that he, and the movie, has enough soul to make it all worth it. Russo, Hargrave, and Hemsworth give him just enough--albeit no thanks to the few “slower” scenes where the filmmakers attempt to give him more depth--to make Extraction click.
Still, in a year where many of the year’s biggest releases may not even be released at all, Extraction is a surprisingly effective and highly entertaining action film that is well worth seeing opening night. Even from the comfort of your own couch.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.