This format is a shorter, more to the point, off-shot of the normal review/op-eds I normally do. A ranking will be given at the end from a scale that starts at (from the lowest to the highest): Bad – meh – fine – good – great. Anything not appropriate for these “scores” will likely warrant a more in-depth discussion, which is what I normally do, so this range does not cover all movies, just the ones that I think are suited to this format.
Extraction is a 2020 Netflix original movie starring Chris Hemsworth, and directed by Sam Hargrave, whose name may not be as recognizable as the star of the movie, but his work certainly is; besides a few short features, his work has mainly consisted of stunt work and coordination, most famously on the recent Marvel movies like Civil War, Infinity War, and End game, as well as having worked on the last two Hunger games movies and Atomic Blonde. Point being, this is a man who knows how to choreograph good action sequences and set-pieces, and now he is given a chance at helming an entire movie, which he grabs and delivers a really good and exciting action-packed thriller.
The story is as follows: Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) is a mercenary who accepts a job that will have him and his team, rescuing and extracting the kidnapped son of a drug lord. Basically, its an excuse to create set-piece after set-piece, and that’s fine; there is some backstory and some themes are present, but there’s nothing here that will blow anyone away. Beyond that, I thought it was a refreshing change of scenery to see such a big movie take place in its entirety in India, and the team made pretty good use of their location, not only in their set-pieces, but also to give the movie a ‘wild beauty’ feel to it.
Although the story is unremarkable, the action is anything but; looking at the movies Sam Hargraves has worked on, you can understand the style of action he likes, and this movie is one of the most exciting implementations of that style. The choreography, set-piece design, and camera work are a lot more aggressive and energetic than similar movies, while explosions and shootouts are more prevalent and traditional in their implementation. If all action movies are a dance of death, where they all adhere to a beat or genre, then Extraction is more rock & roll rather than ballet. If that style is something you enjoy, then Extraction finds many ways to pace and vary its action in the context of a movie; you have the various close quarters combat sequences, shootouts, explosions, car chases, in various locations and with different presentations. At one point you’re watching a stealthy approach, and the next this epic 12-minute sequence that’s presented as a “one-shot” sequence occurs, with car chases, gun fights, and explosions. Despite it being 2 hours long, there’s a very brisk pace to it, where story-wise nothing of real impact is happening for the most part, but an exciting action sequence is either taking place or is being set up to take place.
That’s actually one of the most exciting points for me; all of these action sequences work great, and to think this is Sam Hargrave’s debut (regarding full length movie directing), I can’t wait to see what he does next. Chris Hemsworth is, as always, excellent in his role, which makes him another target for my “love/hate” list of gorgeous people who are extremely good at everything I’ve seen them do (which is currently occupied solely by Ryan Gosling). Beyond that, both Rudhraksh Jaiswal and Randeep Hooda as Ovi and Saju respectively, are pretty good, while a surprise cameo (at least for me) from a certain someone was a joyful surprise and was actually pretty good in his role as well. Technically, the movie is brilliant; there were some crazy problems they had to overcome (this Ars Technica video will give you a good idea) and the movie did not suffer from that. It looks very good, the sound design is great, however I do have a complaint in the music department, which is that I found it unremarkable and kind of bland.
With so little complaints and so many positives, it is obvious that Extraction is a five in my scale, which is great. It does not warrant a different kind of format (like the one I usually do), because I don’t really have the passion to make that claim; if it had done something more unique and creative (like John Wick’s world building and gung-fu), then I would be writing a different article. As it stands, what we have is a great movie with excellent action, great performances, and what could prove to be a very promising start from a very talented director. The formulaic, generic story and underwhelming score are not really hurting the movie, but amazing movies look at all departments of movie-making and try to excel at all of them. That doesn’t mean Extraction is wrong or bad, it means that you should watch it and then you’ll probably never think about it again, even though you’ll have a blast.
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