Extraction Review

What does Thor do when he is not saving the universe with the Avengers? Why, he moonlights as a black market mercenary, of course! Strap yourself in for a wild action-packed ride, for this 2020 Netflix Movie. This film stars Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, as well as Rudraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, Priyanshu Painyuli and Golshifteh Farahani. The film is written by Joe Russo of the Russo brothers and directed by stuntman turned director, Sam Hargrave. 

The overall plot of this film is something like 16 Blocks meets Proof of Life, with a dash of some emotional drama. Remember, this is at its bones, an action movie, not a drama. Oftentimes we forget that action movies are just that, action movies. They are not meant to be dramas. There are some dramatic elements, but you are here to see gunfights, car chases and explosions, not an emotional moment between the two title characters. 

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Hemsworth plays a former SAS soldier turned mercenary. He is clearly in the same mental state as Martin Riggs was in Lethal Weapon. He’s a drunk; a broken, emotional void who is quickly running to his own mortality while taking on extremely dangerous jobs in hopes of meeting his death. While this again is an action movie, Hemsworth shows some real emotional range in the film, though slight and quick, and it should not be overlooked. While the show of his emotions was small, in the aspect of the narrative of the story, we should remember who his character is. He is a soldier, somebody who is not comfortable showing his emotions. Keeping that in mind, he performed well in these small scenes.  

Hemsworth takes on a job to conduct an extraction of a young, Rudraksh Jaiswal, who is kidnapped by a rival drug lord to his father. Hemsworth leads a team into the heart of the underground of Dhaka, Bangladesh to rescue the child for a payday. This all turns on its head when the boy’s father sends his own former Indian SAS guy in to interdict the rescue of his son and save money. Hemsworth is left with the decision to either leave the boy in the street where his kidnappers are looking for him and will ultimately kill him, or to save the boy’s life and get him to the extraction point. 

This movie holds nothing back. It is brutal, it is hard, and it feels real. It continues to make you feel uncomfortable and keeps you on the edge of your seat. In one of the first scenes, Hemsworth shows off some impressive fighting moves as well as gun play. There is also one of the best car chase scenes that I have seen since the Bourne series. In the end, I thought that the action scenes were practical, rather than the far fetched spray and pray gun play, as we have seen in so many action movies in the past. Rather than seeing that, you see some practicality and common sense tactics, which helps to legitimize the film. 

Visually, I was impressed with the camera work. Sam Hargrave  actually makes you feel like you are  with the characters as they navigate the streets of Dhaka. The camera is very rarely static in the action scenes and there are no multiple shots of explosions. Rather you’re moving with the characters through the environment. This is not only refreshing, but it helps to serve as a more immersive experience for the viewer. 

 I found myself almost really feeling the humid heat and grittiness of the environment of Bangladesh. This is helped by not dubbing or making the Indian actors speak their lines in English, but rather their native tongue, adding another layer of authenticity. 

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What I did not like in this movie was some of the special effects. This film, I felt, missed the ball on some of the effects with computer animated fire. Fire should never be computerized. Some of the green screen work as well was clearly a green screen, particularly in the car chase scene. However, if you can move past this as I did then it is not really a big problem.

The story is like a lot of action movies and is a little predictable. I will, however, say that there are some points in the story that are refreshing and help to break up the typical pattern. There is betrayal, redemption and sacrifice, not to mention lots and lots of action.  All of this culminates in the final sequence of the film with a race to the finish line that brings us back to the beginning scene of the movie. It felt to me that this was where Sam Hargrave, brought out all the stops for the big finale and it was worth it.

If you’re looking for a good modern take on an action movie, this is for you. Hemsworth brings his physical performance and also flexes some of his emotional strengths as well. The supporting cast, while unknown to me personally, proved to be an amazing and vital part of the film, as most of their performances were excellent. I really liked this movie, take a look at it for yourself. 

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