Why do some filmmakers find it to be of such “impactful dramatic narration” to show a snippet of the end of the story or film within the first two minutes of its beginning? That’s what disappointed me in the latest Netflix release “Extraction” featuring Chris Hemsworth as a skilled Australian mercenary hired to rescue an Indian drug lord’s son that has been kidnapped by a competing drug lord.
Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, action hero name!!! He’s an alcoholic that manages to maintain his buff physique. I’d like to know the secret to these big action brutes, and how they stay so fit while downing bottles upon bottles of liquor and pills. Tyler has two days to get Ovi Mahajan Jr (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) out of an area of Bangladesh that is completely controlled by Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli) the most powerful drug lord in Dharma, Bangladesh. Ovi Sr is another drug lord trapped in prison. Cops, civilians, street kids, practically everyone in the area operates under the command of Amir.
The rescue happens early with Tyler taking out over a half dozen guys that are holding Ovi in a run down apartment. He kills them every which imaginable. Fist, gun, knife, rake (in a top floor apartment?), you name it. From there, the bulk of the film focuses on how Tyler and Ovi are going to get safely out of the area.
“Extraction” is directed by Sam Hargrave and produced by Hemsworth’s Marvel super hero producer pal, Joe Russo. It is based on a graphic novel and it’s easy to recognize that. The violence is fast and gory and unforgiving. A major player gets a head shot assassination while standing at a urinal. Hargrave freezes the scene for a moment like a comic book panel. Dialogue throughout the film is somewhat limited to what could only fit in one of those speaking bubbles you find in comics.
Hargrave had me going with a number of long steady cam moments. One in particular has Tyler driving a Mercedes down a busy street while getting shot at, crashed into and rocket launched. The camera goes in and out of the car from the back seat to the front seat to the hood and the trunk and around the bad guys surrounding them. It reminded me of that celebrated sequence from “Children Of Men” directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Only thing is, Hargrave is not as seamless as Cuaron. I give an ‘A’ for effort, though you easily catch the breaks in the flow.
Tyler gets some assistance from David Harbour, who plays another sleazy kind of cut up, just like in “Quantum Of Solace.” Can this guy do anything else? (I know…”Stranger Things.” How about something even more that that though?). He just didn’t do anything for me here.
Tyler also gets some welcome assistance from a female mercenary named Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani). She’s completely bad ass, and her character really comes alive in the last 30 minutes.
“Extraction” is decent entertainment. Honestly, I was getting a little bored as the killings went on and on. How many different ways can a guy be shot in the head? I guess that’s why Tyler swings a dead body like a baseball bat to take out another guy or mashes a guy’s head into a car door window. You know, to mix it up a little bit.
Hargrave’s film does go beyond the normal conventions of action films at times. There are a few twists that got my attention but it’s mostly a film narrated in body count and bullets.
However, because of these mild surprises, again I ask why show me obvious material from the story’s ending as a quick pre title sequence? It would have been a much more satisfying surprise for me as a viewer had I not known what was to eventually come into play.