Chris Hemsworth goes full Mel Gibson mode à la Martin Riggs — particularly the first Lethal Weapon movie — in Netflix’s Extraction. But instead of playing a brooding cop who has nothing to lose, Hemsworth’s role turns out to be a hired mercenary with a death wish. Like Riggs, he’s good on what he does. Killing people, that is and even has a tortured past that keeps haunted his memory.
The story — adapted from the graphic novel Ciudad co-created by Joe Russo alongside Ande Parks and Fernando León González — is pretty straightforward: Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, who is enlisted by his handler Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani) to rescue the abducted son (Rudhraksh Jaiswal’s Ovi Mahajan) of an imprisoned Indian crime lord.
Now, if you primarily watch Extraction for the action alone, this is where the movie excels the most. Sam Hargrave, a veteran fight and stunt coordinator for The Hunger Games, Atomic Blonde and the last two Avengers movies, certainly knows a thing or two about making a muscular action movie. Whether it was a shootout or hand-to-hand combat, Hargrave brings enough flair and verve to his well-staged action choreography. The kind that would look and sounds great on the big screen, even though it was made exclusively for Netflix. Not to mention with cinemas remain closed until further notice due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is definitely timely enough for movies like Extraction made it to the streaming service for home viewing.
Then, there’s the 12-minute extended set-piece made up of long takes seamlessly stitched together to look like one continuous shot. The result is both visually immersive and spectacular — easily the most impressive moments in this movie.
Although Chris Hemsworth does a good job in his physically-demanding role and even looks the part as a brooding anti-hero, the same cannot be said with Joe Russo’s — yes, the one-half of the Russo brothers who gave us the last two Avengers movies as well as Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War — own adapted screenplay. More like a generic product straight out from the assembly line, it even comes complete with all the obligatory clichés often seen in this kind of action movie. The movie also lacks a sufficient emotional punch, which in turn, makes it a tedious ride whenever the action scene takes a breather. Frankly, if Extraction is meant to be a stripped-down action movie, it could have benefitted with a leaner duration at 90 minutes instead of its original two-hour length.
If it’s not for Sam Hargrave’s visceral action showcase and Chris Hemsworth’s engaging screen presence, Extraction would have been a total bust. You can watch it now on Netflix.