Cinema Review: Extraction | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, June 4th, 2020  

Extraction

Studio: Netflix
Directed by Sam Hargrave

Apr 27, 2020 Web Exclusive
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All you need know about Netflix’s new action thriller can be distilled into two pieces of information. It’s very violent, and the main character is called Tyler Rake. In fairness, other character’s do question this granite-shaped action hero name, but none of it perturbs Rake, played far more charismatically than the role deserves by Chris Hemsworth.

As for the violence, the introduction sets the scene quickly, showing Rake distributing and receiving an awful lot of punishment in what is soon revealed to be a flashforward. So, we know he’ll end up struggling across a bridge shooting everything that moves, but how and why will Rake get here?

The why is not important. The plot doesn’t go deeper than the title as Rake, part of a largely ignored team led by an under-utilised Golshifteh Farahani is sent to extract the son (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) of an Indian gangster, kidnapped by a Bangladeshi gangster. This is just an excuse to barrel along between action sequences. As for the how, well there is a lot of barrelling along, complete with a body count the envy of any ‘80s action flick.

Paying attention to the plot is not really the point given no one involved in Extraction seems to have done either. They might as well have drawn country names out of a hat for all the interest there is in the location. It’s all about the action, the Russo brothers (Joe on screenplay duty) having tapped their second unit director and stunt co-ordinator Sam Hargrave for his directing debut. And if action’s the thing, he delivers.

The fighting is gruesome, inventive and continually captivating, taking in the full range of brutal stabbings, bone-crunching fist fights, car accidents, car chases, explosions, gunshots, smoke grenades, multi-story drops, and even at one stage, an entirely unnecessary plummet off a cliff because that’s what Rake does for kicks.

Hargrave is also the person who coordinated the lengthy apartment fight sequence in Atomic Blonde and he’s at it again here, going all virtuoso across a single take apartment beat ‘em up top and tailed with car chases. Nothing in the rest of the movie gets close to this level of exhilaration, though not for want of trying.

Obstacles are certainly not lacking either, as a series of antagonists get in the way, popping up mechanically to make sure there is another reason for everything to descend into chaos lest the gaping lack of plot or character development has time to become too apparent.

Luckily, aside from excellent action sequences, albeit seemingly shot with an amber glow that gives the impression they only had one low-grade bulb to light the entire thing, Extraction also has Hemsworth. Lens flare appears as often as emotion across his face, but he doesn’t need it, batting away the usual low-grade heartstring-tugging backstory rubbish. This is a ride cruising on star power.

Can two hours of relentless action with a compelling leading man built like a brick wall do the job then? Yeah, just about.

Author rating: 6/10

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