In Extraction, Chris Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, a black market mercenary who is fearless but only because he’s at the end of his rope. He’s solicited to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord. But it’s not so cut and dry. A rival kingpin in the murky underworld of weapons dealers and drug traffickers is making things ever more difficult for Rake and the boy (played by Rudhraksh Jaiswal).
Sam Hargrave‘s first feature-length film (after working as stunt coordinator and second unit director for many of the most recent Marvel movies) is what action-junkies live for. If you want something hard-hitting, then this will deliver. For close to two solid hours, Extraction showcases deliriously frenetic action that doesn’t let up.
Each set piece outshines the next, but the film’s most impressive sequence is the impossibly brutal and extended chase scene to finish the first act. It’s made all the more eye-popping because it’s edited to seem like a single take...for twelve uninterrupted minutes of adrenaline. Further, the amount of ground covered by car, foot, van and all close-quarters battle is a sight to behold. And actually, this would be amazing to see on the big screen as the impact is slightly dulled watching on TV or phone. That said, it still delivers the goods, and then some.
It’s particularly inspired by early Ridley Scott films, video games and, very specifically, The Raid. But what Hargrave does – from a screenplay by Joe Russo – really blurs the lines between each individual’s motives which complicates the plot for the characters and the audience. There is no good and bad. Only bad and worse.
That dynamic makes it interesting, almost in the vein of old samurai movies. One bit that doesn’t work is the opening scene. Intended as a flashback, the two day jump doesn’t add much to the story and there is no great reveal to when they finally catch up to the start of the film. This criticism, however, is of little consequence.
As a change of pace, our good friend David Harbour shows up to allow everyone to catch their breath and he helps put the plot into perspective. Unfortunately, it kind of stops the movie dead. He’s a treat (as ever), and the change of pace is welcomed. You also get a good grasp of the friendship between Hemsworth and Harbour (similar to Nic Cage and Bill Duke in Mandy), and after the brief “catching up” we do get a deeper look into who these character are as well as the kinds of choices they’ve had to make to last this long.
It’s tough to have a moral compass in this kind of story, and more so when there are no good guys and everyone is looking out for themselves. Their banter telegraphs the feeling that this won’t end well for anyone involved. But we won’t spoil anything for you.
The action will take your breath away and, like The Terminator, it will not stop. We bring up the ’84 Cameron classic especially because Randeep Hooda kind of carries himself the same way as Schwarzenegger (even down to how he approaches the bathroom mirror to survey the lumps he took from Hemsworth). And you have to hand it to Hemsworth and the stunt team for selling some truly gruesome haymakers, bullet hits and kills that make you wince. Ace work from Hargrave for his debut. From start to finish, this is one impressive actioner.
Netflix’s new film is directed by Sam Hargrave and stars Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, Golshifteh Farahani, Pankaj Tripathi, Priyanshu Painyuli, and David Harbour. Extraction will hit Netflix on April 24.