Netflix’s newest movie is brought to you by the Russo Brothers (Joe and Anthony) who helmed, arguably, the four of the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Captain America: Winter Soldier and Civil War along with Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War. The latter three put the stamp on the franchise and though they are “only” on as producers in Extraction, having their names attached alone lends to a heightened sense of excitement.
Based on a script by Joe, the brothers brought in Sam Hargrave to direct. He’d worked with the Russos as a stunt coordinator on the aforementioned MCU films and has a number of other action credits. Netflix’s Extraction marks his first big-budget, full-length directorial work.
And keeping it in the MCU family, they also brought along Chris Hemsworth to star. Coming off a strong run as Thor, Hemsworth’s most recent leading man, big-budget turn was in the disappointing Men in Black: International (23% on Rotten Tomatoes). Extraction marks a nice bounce back.
When Ovi Mahajan (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) is kidnapped by Amir Asif, a drug lord rival of Ovi’s father, a plan is put in place to get the kid back. This is where we meet Tyler Rake (Hemsworth), who’s living a quiet but pained life in the Australian outback where he apparently spends much of time drinking while waiting for the next job. But whatever his demons are, they don’t appear to get in the way of him being a highly trained soldier who’s very much in demand for the “messy” jobs. Rake has all the trappings of a movie mercenary, renegade for hire. He’s sad, single, dealing with the loss of a child and it’s clear early he has few f@#$s to give.
What ensues in Extraction is essentially an escape movie with Rake and Ovi working their way through the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, a city lorded over by Asif. The latter controls the entirety of a corrupt police force along with the totality of the criminal underworld. It means the city is crawling with people looking for Rake and Ovi behind every turn.
Hemsworth plays the part of Extraction’s hero admirably. He has few lines, and the movie as a whole doesn’t have much dialogue, using most of its time moving at a frenetic pace through the city. What conversations we do get give us some insight into Rake and the sense that his mission to save Ovi, which goes off the rails very early, is more about his own personal redemption than it is about the money set to be made from rescuing the kid.
The two develop something of a bond, unlikely allies in a situation that’s bloody and messy. For how little they do speak, the fit is natural for Hemsworth and it’s easy to believe him in the role. In a lot of ways, he brings the non-comedic and tortured part of Thor into this role. And there are layers to getting Ovi out that force Rake into uncomfortable, and emotional decisions beyond just getting the kid over the bridge and getting out.
Extraction’s main focus, and arguably its biggest failing, is the unmitigated and graphic violence going down essentially from beginning to end. Hargrave never takes his foot off the gas with Rake racking up a body count that would make Thanos blush. This isn’t to say that a Netflix movie like Extraction should hold back when it comes to the violence unleashed by a vicious drug lord and a corrupt military against a guy with a particular set of skills. But there’s definitely some fatigue around the bloodshed over the course of the two hours. Sometimes you have a vigilante type flick that takes its time with the good guy / bad guy interactions a la Taken. Sometimes just everyone in sight ends up in a body bag like the …Has Fallen flicks. Extraction falls into the latter category even if the movie does have more heart.
Extraction is shot superbly even if the premise grows increasingly ridiculous. The action sequences are top notch, certain chase scenes are shot trailing cars which lends to a sense of instability and the close-in style of the fight scenes (and there are a lot) feels Jason Bourne-ish with a bunch more bullets and blood flying. If you’re looking for an action movie that doesn’t have a ton of nuance (though just enough) then Netflix’s Extraction is up your alley.
Extraction accomplishes what it sets out to do: weave us through a city escape while rooting for Rake and Ovi. In this way, the film is simple. I appreciated just about everything here even if the bloodshed could have been ratcheted down. If you’re prepared for the body count, then Netflix’s Extraction is worth the watch.