Well-choreographed action sequences and a brooding muscular performance from Hemsworth elevates this action thriller to a cut above the usual.
This review of Extraction (Netflix) is spoiler-free.
The son of a wealthy drug baron is kidnapped by his rival. To get him out of danger and to safety, Chris Hemsworth’s (Thor, Men in Black: International) Tyler Rake is called in, but once on the ground, it becomes quickly apparent that things are not going to straightforward.
Ever since Jason Bourne lost his memory and kicked *** across Europe, action filmmakers have been forced to up their game when it comes to the framing and shooting of action sequences. With a handheld camera going in super close to the action and literally following our heroes through the streets of India as they sweat, grunt, shoot and stab their way to safety, Sam Hargrave makes the audience not just a witness to but in many ways, a part of the scene in his new action-thriller Extraction (Netflix).
Extraction borrows heavily from plenty of movies in the genre with healthy dollops of John Wick, Jason Bourne, Taken and even one or two scenes that put me in mind of The Raid. Whilst this one perhaps does not quite belong in the same bracket as the films that form its inspiration it is not too far away. There are some breath-taking moments and one or two pieces of action choreography that caused me to both gasp and wince in equal measure. It comes perhaps as no surprise that before making his feature directorial debut here director, Sam Hargrave has a background as a stunt coordinator, having worked on Atomic Blonde and the Hunger Games series as well as working with Joe Russo and Hemsworth in the MCU.
Written by Joe Russo, the script is tight and compact, which considering how much running around and shooting there is seems probably wise; too much navel-gazing would only get in the way and slow the pacing down. The characters fall back on familiar archetypes a few times but the performances, most notably Hemsworth’s, keep it just about on the right side of cliché. There is solid character development on display and in the end you sense that Rake has managed to get to some form of redemption through all the chaos.
Hemsworth, who takes on producer duties as well as starring, is outstanding here as the lead. He gives a muscular (in all senses) performance, he executes the action sequences with an economy of movement that makes it look like this guy is used to dealing with impossible situations; he is physically capable but emotionally broken, making him believable as a mercenary. It is nice to see Hemsworth in stripped-back mode after playing so large for much of his run as Thor in the MCU.
The setting plays a huge role here in creating the right environment and as the set pieces roll from one to another a sense of claustrophobia adds to the tension. Most of the sequences were shot in Kolkata and the production team makes great use of the physical surroundings which does a lot to distinguish this from other, less accomplished productions.
Netflix’s Extraction is a solid action thriller with a good performance from its leading man, brilliant set design and some fight sequences that work on every level. A perfect Friday night in front of the TV-type movie.
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Andy joined the Ready Steady Cut team in October 2018. A Graduate of Exeter University, he writes mainly about films and TV.