“Extraction:” an electric action flick

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Photo courtesy of Netflix Studios

In a world where attending theatrical releases has become a fond and distant memory, many movie-lovers find themselves longing for fresh films. Interrupting the weeks of what seemed to be a veritable cinematic desert, Netflix has just released a brand new film: director Sam Hargrave’s “Extraction.” 

“Extraction” stars everyone’s favorite god of thunder, Chris Hemsworth, as Tyler Rake. This Aussie ex-special-ops-agent-turned-mercenary only takes breaks from his drinking habit to go on dangerous missions, always running from a haunting past. 

However, his past just might catch up to him as he jumps into a new mission and is submerged into the muck of the underground drug wars of India and Bangladesh. A Bangladeshi drug lord has kidnapped an Indian drug lord’s son, and no gun-for-hire is willing to go extract this child, other than Rake. 

Rake makes a plan with his team and then heads into the belly of the beast in the Bangladeshi city of Dhaka. After finding the boy, he begins his one-man war against the druglord of Dhaka, while beginning to rediscover a type of paternal love that he has not felt for a long time. 

When the mission inevitably goes wrong and gets complicated, Rake chooses to stop running from his past, put aside his desire for payment and devote himself completely to protecting this boy.

Captivating chase sequences and electric fight choreography, combined with cinematography worthy of the “John Wick” films and first-rate performance from Hemsworth, defines the duration of the film. 

What this film’s premise and plot lack in complexity, is completely made up for in entertainment value and heart. The construction and choreography of this film’s action scenes are what distinguishes this film from other comparable action-thrillers. 

Hargrave made the most of his past as a stuntman and a stunt coordinator in his direction of “Extraction.” Hargrave had previously worked with the directors Russo Brothers on several occasions in planning, coordinating and executing the amazing stunt work that makes the Russos’ Marvel movies live up to their studio’s namesake. This past partnership between the Russos and Hargrave led to Joe Russo writing, and both brothers producing “Extraction,” Hargrave’s first helming of a feature film. 

The plain premise of this film frees Hargrave to make the most of every action sequence and simply make “Extraction” an incredibly-well constructed and extremely entertaining action flick.

Hemsworth has come a long way in his acting career, long ago proving that he was far more than a pretty face attached to a musclebound body. This is again confirmed as he flexes his hefty acting chops and provides a complex and heartfelt performance that helps to elevate the film beyond its simple premise and impressive stunt work. 

In addition to his ability as a dramatic actor, the sheer physicality Hemsworth is able to bring to bear in fight sequences perfectly complements Hargrave’s direction and Newton Thomas Sigel’s work as the film’s cinematographer.

The production design is similarly seamless. Philip Ivey and his team, along with the film’s stunt choreographers, cinematographer and director maximize the film’s potential to be a consistently absorbing thriller. 

This team’s prowess in their production design, cinematography, stunt work and direction is shown in a stunning 12-minute long one-shot that showcases the best of everything this film has to offer; this sequence evokes the feeling of a dramatic, real-life playthrough of a “Call of Duty” campaign. The crazy thing about this sequence, though, is that it is all done in-camera and in real life. 

“Extraction” is certainly worth watching, if only for this amazing scene.

Despite all the fantastic elements of this film, it is sometimes weighed down by its simplicity and predictability. For those looking for something new in the way of narrative ingenuity or complexity, “Extraction” has little to offer. 

“Extraction” features a premise everyone has already seen before, with a plot everyone is familiar with and an ending that many can predict. This film just happens to show its premise, plot and ending in a more exciting and much more skillfully-executed manner than many of its predecessors. 

If you’re dying to see a fresh film and aren’t bothered by it being essentially an exceptionally-executed version of an action movie premise that has been around for quite a while, then “Extraction” certainly will puncture the monotony of quarantined life with a couple of exhilarating hours of electric entertainment. 

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