Published Apr 28, 2020As the MCU's Thor, Chris Hemsworth fashioned himself as a downright adorable action hero who kicked ass while cracking jokes and seemingly never took himself too seriously. The same certainly can't be said about Extraction, an action-thriller that's gritty, exciting and often gruesomely bloody.
Speaking in his natural Australian accent, Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, a mercenary hired to rescue the kidnapped son of a drug lord. He heads to Dhaka, Bangladesh, where the extraction mission quickly goes awry and Tyler is caught in the crossfire of warring drug lords from Bangladesh and India.
The story, which is full of completely unsurprising double-crossings, is little more than a perfunctory excuse to get an automatic rifle into Hemsworth's meaty paws. It's difficult to fully buy into the portrayal of Dhaka as a warzone in need of a white saviour; even though the city is known for its real-life high crime rate, that still doesn't make it plausible when a gangster throws a child off a downtown rooftop and seemingly no one bats an eye.
Iffy white saviour narrative aside, Extraction has some jaw-dropping action sequences. Debut director Sam Hargrave favours fly-on-the-wall long shots, and a mid-movie scene where Hemsworth and teenage target Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) fight their way through the streets is stunning. The lead actors are shown falling off balconies and getting ploughed down by traffic. The violence is realistic enough to be genuinely scary, and it's not clear how the film pulled it off without seriously injuring the cast. Hargrave is best known as a Marvel stunt coordinator, and he makes the most of that skillset here.
The violence is enough to sustain the tension throughout the two-hour runtime, although the emotional payoff doesn't quite land. Ovi's portrayal of an innocent, sensitive teen with a ruthless father is compelling, although the filmmakers don't bother developing Tyler's character until the film's final act. Extraction doesn't earn the emotional payoff it lazily attempts, especially during a climax that tones down the stunts in favour of gun-wielding gore.
Still, for a couple of the year's most intense white-knuckle action sequences, action fans will find it worthwhile to overlook Extraction's glaring flaws. (Netflix)