‘Extraction’ is the full-length feature directorial-debut of stunt/fight coordinator Sam Hargrave. Based on the graphic novel ‘Cuidad’, written by Ande Parks and the Russo brothers Joe and Anthony (known for directing multiple Marvel Cinematic films such as ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Avengers: Endgame’), this ‘Netflix Original’ action-thriller film follows the screenplay of Joe Russo and stars Chris Hemsworth (‘Thor Ragnarok’).
Being directed by Hargrave whose involvement in filmmaking has primarily been as a stunt/fight coordinator, Extraction is a spectacle bursting with large action set pieces and close-quarter combat, lending itself perfectly to a lead who has quickly become one of Hollywood’s best action stars. In credit to a wonderful screenplay by Joe Russo, Chris Hemsworth’s character ‘Tyler Rake’, is a black-market mercenary both as capable at capturing the audience’s attention as he is with their hearts, being delivered as a fearless, broken, unrelenting shell of his former-self. When paired with his extraction target, a teenage boy named ‘Ovi Mahajan’ (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), son to India’s largest crime lord ‘Ovi Mahajan Sr.’ (Pankaj Tripathi), Tyler’s compassionate nature is slowly peeled back from his warrior appearance, as he develops a paternal relationship to the innocent boy. The two display an incredible level of care for one another along their journey, with their chemistry strengthening through their hardship.
After a volley of attacks by Ovi’s captor and Mahajans Sr. rival, the crime lord of Bangladesh ‘Amir Asif’ (Priyanshu Painyuli), the two share their most emotionally impactful moments in hiding, when Tyler is pressured to abandon his mission and the boy. Jaswal’s performances in these scenes greatly complimented Hemsworth, aiding him in crafting one of the best scenes in the entire film. Overall, the film’s narrative could present argument that is too similar past movies in this category, that of a child hostage to their father’s crime lord rival, where only a heroic but traumatised character can save the young life. Even if this is the case, its performances negate any reason to label this film as just another attempt at a tired format.
As an action-thriller film, Extraction more than delivers. Hargrave has been able to apply his vast knowledge from the stunt industry and direct a movie that is a blast to sit back and just enjoy. Imitating the world of ‘John Wick’, the close-quarters fight scenes are incredibly well choreographed and wonderfully depict the raw strength of a badass mercenary. When up-scaled to large set pieces, vehicle scenes set in the small and cramped streets of Bangladesh in particular are used to great effect and add to the claustrophobic feel of the film. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the story is its great pacing. The great timing of the action, although at points can be too loud on the dialogue, ultimately aids the story in maintaining the on-the-run narrative. Even with a departure from the running and gunning before the final act of the film, Joe Russo’s amazing screenplay still retains the story’s high level of tension, which is also largely part to the inclusion of David Harbour who plays ‘Gaspar’, a complicated ‘friend’ to Tyler.
Apart from the highlighted downfall in the sound mixing, the film’s audio spectacularly assists the on-screen action. Weapons firing sound exceptionally realistic, hand-to-hand fighting is hard hitting and explosions deliver a great roar alongside a visually beautiful scene. These elements all work so well on the stunning background of Bangladesh and India, and in addition to supporting the action and described claustrophobic feel of the film do a brilliant job of depicting the differences between socio-economic classes in these countries.
Combining the talents of one of the entertainment industry’s best writers in Joe Russo and best action stars in that of Chris Hemsworth, with an upcoming director whose professional life has been as a stunt and fight choreographer, has produced a film with a great story and even better heart-stopping action. Although open to criticism that it does not veer from other films in its category, Extraction affirms Netflix’s ability to produce original films across a wide variety of genres, and is a movie that you should definitely put on your watch-list.
To see more reviews on Film, TV and Gaming, follow ‘Final Thoughts’, on: