As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the entire movie-going experience, there have been few releases since theaters shut down back in March. Studios have changed their business model for the foreseeable future as films have been released on digital and video on demand instead.
The film’s premise is as simplistic as action flicks go. Extraction is based on a graphic novel named Ciudad by Ande Parks and the Russo brothers. The story follows Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), a mercenary hired by an Indian drug lord to rescue his son, who was kidnapped by a rival drug lord in Bangladesh. The film’s simplicity in plot opens the doors for extensive action sequences, but little to no character development limiting the audience in making any connection to the characters in the movie.
Along with the absent character development in Extraction, Newton Thomas Sigel’s cinematography may be the film’s weakest spot. The majority of the film takes place the most during the day but feels as though we are in a black hole of darkness. Rather than attempting to go for a sleeker-looking film similar to John Wick, Sigel seems to have phoned it in on Extraction.
Extraction is a mini Marvel Cinematic Universe reunion between Joe Russo (writer of the film), Thor himself Chris Hemsworth, and Sam Hargrave, who was the stunt coordinator on numerous Marvel films. This time around, Hargrave is at the helm, and his experience working as a stunt coordinator pay off as the film’s action sequences and fight choreography stand out as the film’s best asset. The highlight being a car chase through the crowded streets and alleyways that ultimately turns into a pursuit through a housing complex and across rooftops, and culminates in hand into hand combat. Why is this the highlight? Because the scene is a single 12-minute take. Hargrave had his hands all over this incredible sequence.
Chris Hemsworth continues to show why he is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. His magnetic charisma is sprinkled throughout the film as he plays a different type of hero. Hemsworth puts away the cape and hammer for this film; however, it brings back the action hero of the 80s and 90s. The near-invincible hero that leaves cinephiles asking themselves, “How did he survive that?”
Extraction never quite reaches the level of a great film. But, it is a film that channels the action films of yesteryear to provide much-needed quarantine entertainment for all cinephiles.