Recommendation: Entertaining enough, with grounded and brutal action sequences and technical flourish throughout. A tad overlong and tone deaf self-seriousness keep it from being a home run. 6.5/10.
IMDB Synopsis: Tyler Rake, a fearless black market mercenary, embarks on the most deadly extraction of his career when he’s enlisted to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord.
It’s a brave new world for Chris Hemsworth after about a decade of playing Thor for the Marvel machine. His first big role since 2019’s Avengers End Game finds the hulking Aussie playing Tyler Rake, a highly skilled mercenary with haunted past, charged with extracting a drug lord’s son from captivity by a rival drug lord in Bangladesh. Extraction is the kind of high budget, high octane, technically savvy film that is usually reserved for a Fast film. And while the action is compelling and Hemsworth is solid as a soldier of fortune, the film kind of swims between lanes too much to be totally effective. Too serious to be unbridled fun (like aforementioned Fast films) and too militaristically anodyne to be John Wick, Extraction feels like a ratcheted up, bland action flick with manufactured gravitas rather genuine stakes.
Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), a mercenary with a penchant for booze and pills, masking his haunted past, is hired to extract Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), a 14-year old son of India’s biggest drug lord from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Despite his death wish and problematic habits, he’s is the only man who’ll take a job this crazy. Hired by Ovi’s former bodyguard, Rake heads to Dhaka to extract the kid. This sets off an action packed second act of the film where Rake takes out the captors in brutal fashion, runs from and fights the police (in really good fake oner), uncovers a double cross, and beats up a bunch of street kids.
After the adrenaline rush of the first hour, the next 30 minutes grind to a halt as the film tries to imbue a heaviness and weariness to Rake and the situation. It ineffectively conflates getting Ovi out of the country to assuaging the guilt and shame he feels in not honorably handling his son’s death. None of this is Hemsworth’s fault of course. After paying lip service to the heavier and weightier film it wanted to be (think Blackhawk Down), the film ratchets up the body count for the final sequence in what amounts to an extended gunfight with Rake and Ovi’s bodyguard versus the Bangladeshi army. This should be the crescendo, but it seems like the film never ends. Rake is a hammer, not a knife, so he brazenly crashes into army roadblocks with his grenade launcher and silenced (why?) AR. undoubtedly the film is an achievement in pulse-pounding gunplay, there’s little style or substance, so you’re effectively just watching a Call of Duty live action scene.
Extraction has a lot in its corner. Hemsworth is totally believable as an action star, and he does his best to sell the soldier with a haunted past. The action is grade-A, fast paced, and inventive, at times. But the lack of stakes and paper thin characters keep the movie from elevating beyond anything more than down-the-middle action.
MVP: This is a Hemsworth vehicle beginning to end. We’re well acquainted with his action prowess but a shame the filmmakers didn’t let his comic side shine a bit.
Highlights: The 2nd act fake oner is exhilarating and technically amazing. Some pretty great stunts (not to be confused with a John Wick-level choreography though).
Director: Sam Hargrave
Studio: Netflix // Release date: April 24, 2020