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Extraction (Chris Hemsworth) - Review (Netflix)


Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

THE creative forces behind many Marvel films reunite for Extraction, an action thriller that pays homage to some of the best entries in the genre, from Man on Fire to John Wick and The Raid.

But while delivering in the action stakes, the film comes up short emotionally, struggling to recapture the same balance that helped to make some of those other entries so successful and memorable.

The Marvel team behind the film are stunt-specialist-turned-director Sam Hargrave (who first rose to prominence on X-Men Origins: Wolverine and who has since worked on the likes of Atomic Blonde and its stunning one-shot action sequence), screenwriter Joe Russo (one half of the co-directing team behind Infinity War and Endgame) and leading man Chris Hemsworth (aka Thor).

But where their work on the MCU has contributed to some of the best entries in the superhero genre (under the stewardship of Kevin Feige), their work on Extraction feels a little more derivative, especially when it comes to storytelling.

Hence, the film finds Hemsworth playing mercenary Tyler Rake, who is deployed to Dhaka to retrieve a teenage school-boy named Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the son of a Mumbai crime lord, who has been kidnapped by rival Bangladeshi mobster Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli).

But while the extraction in question is pulled off fairly easily, Tyler soon finds himself being double-crossed and forced to go rogue in the best interests of keeping Ovi alive. His decision pushes him physically and emotionally, as Tyler seeks some form of personal redemption for the sins of his troubled past.

To best appreciate Extraction‘s successes and failures, it’s worthwhile considering where it takes a lot of its inspiration from. Hemsworth’s Tyler, for instance, is a hero in the John Creasy/Denzel Washington mode (from Man on Fire), a ruthlessly efficient killer harbouring personal demons. Where Creasy sought revenge for losing the young girl he had been hired to protect, Rake seeks atonement for both his own son and Ovi. Both kids are the product of morally compromised parents.

On the action side, meanwhile, the film draws comparisons with the breathless, genre-defining style of both John Wick and The Raid, in the way that it combines breath-taking hand-to-hand combat sequences (a la Wick )with gravity-defying, ‘how did they do that without getting hurt’ set pieces (a la The Raid).

But that’s not to say the film isn’t without its own merits. A 12-minute, one-shot chase sequence, involving cars and running gun-fights, is genuinely stunning (with principal adversary Randeep Hooda making a really big impression alongside Hemsworth), while a sequence involving Hemsworth and some gun and machete wielding street kids is similarly audacious and original.

Hemsworth acquits himself well in the lead role, doing mean and moody well despite having to supress the Thor charisma. While his relationship with young Jaiswal is nicely played whenever the action stops long enough to allow the two of them to form some kind of dynamic.

The main problem is that Hargrave struggles to find the right balance between the emotional and the physical, thereby compromising the film’s ability to leave a genuinely lasting impression. The ending, in particular, is bungled. It feels as contrived as it does – eventually – a cop out.

Similarly, a mid-film sequence involving an ally from Rake’s past fails to conceal the surprises that would have made the actor’s contribution more worthwhile – the predictability feeling a little jarring.

It’s in the action stakes that Extraction really delivers and where its true passion lies. If nothing else, the film succeeds on a purely visceral level. Taken in the right mood, and without too much in the way of expectation, this is a muscular, occasionally jaw-dropping thriller that batters you into submission.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 116mins
UK Release Date: Available to stream now on Netflix