Extraction is not a video game adaptation – but it could have been. Nor is Extraction a spin-off from the highly-successful John Wick franchise, although if it is was, you wouldn’t have thought twice. If anything, thinking twice is not why one would watch the Netflix original movie.
Resplendent with turn-yer-brain-off action and in-yer-face fisticuffs, Extraction is the perfect prescription for fun escapism this quarantined world needs.
Based on the graphic novel Ciudad by comicbook veteran Ande Parks (Capote in Kansas, Green Arrow) and Joe Russo (a screenwriter/director… somewhat of a newcomer in the field. Has a few little-seen, indie flicks on his resume…), Extraction is the straight-forward tale of a hardened-yet-weary merc hired to rescue a kidnapped boy. That boy, refreshingly played by Rudhraksh Jaiswal, whose wide, innocent eyes are more-than-reminiscent of Finn Wolfhard’s Stranger Things teen exuberance, is the son of a ruthless Mumbai mobster. An equally-ruthless mobster, this one from Dhaka, Bangladesh, has the son kidnapped in order to finalize their gang war. Enter Chris Hemsworth and team whose muscles, grunts, and squinting eyes would make any paramilitary army quake in fear from their oncoming storm. In a fun little twist, once Hemsworth’s team gains the child, they are brutally betrayed by the son’s guardian, Saju, a former black ops solider, portrayed by action-star-in-the-making Randeep Hooda.
Directed by Sam Hargrave, who worked as a stunt coordinator and second unit director on a number of Marvel movies, he follows in the footsteps of Chad Stahelski (John Wick) and David Leitch (Atomic Blonde). Showing more than hyper-stylized fight scenes, of which there are plenty, Hargrave beautifully choreographs an 11-minute, single-shot scene that even Sam Mendes (1917, Spectre) would find impressive.
Hemsworth brings brunt physicality to the role as well as the requisite levels conflict. The twinkling Thunder God’s eye has been replaced with a study of seriousness, which was a welcome turn following the depressing aloofness shown in his Endgame character. Most of all, Hemsworth is convincingly believable in a rather unbelievable role in a most ridiculous movie.
Extraction has all the tropes of an 80s action movie. Of course, if Ovi was a blond woman there would have been the obligatory romance scene. Instead, there is the all-too short bromance between Hemsworth and David Harbour, whose affable charisma deserved longer screen time. Extraction is R-rated theater in single-minded pursuit of a single-minded goal: thoughtless entertainment. With that, Netflix has extracted a win.