Released: 24th April
Seen: 27th April
It feels like 2020 is the year when certain actors need to prove that they can survive outside of the Marvel ecosphere. Namely, the original Avengers who are either no longer in the main series or are on their way out. The year started with RDJ making everyone worry that maybe he was going to be the big casualty of this with his devastatingly painful performance in Dolittle, we recently got the confirmation that Chris Evans is probably going to be fine with his work in Defending Jacob and now we come to Chris Hemsworth, who has also been working outside of the boundaries of the MCU for a while but keeps picking projects that no one likes (MiB: International) or no one sees (Bad Times At The El Royale). So, here he is teaming up with a first-time director who used to be a stunt coordinator and one of the Russo brothers to create a “White stuck in a foreign country shooting all of the bad guys” movie. It might not be great, but it’s pretty damn good.
Extraction pairs the audience up with Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) a mercenary for hire who has been hired to rescue the son of a drug kingpin. Of course, once he gets a hold of the son, who is named Ovi Mahajan (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), it turns out that there are other people trying to get hold of Ovi which complicates the mission and leads to about an hour of Tyler and Ovi running through the streets of Bangladesh and shooting at various people who we will never know, occasionally running into other mercenaries and even a few child soldiers which complicates matters somewhat. Of course, Tyler must get Ovi through all this to get to the extraction point and while doing so will hopefully grow as a person and learn a life lesson that could only be taught through multiple bullet wounds.
This movie is not here to tell you some brand new story you’ve never heard before, it’s not breaking much new ground. Ovi is the item that needs to be gotten from point A to point B and we’re just here to watch a whole mess of violent action scenes taking place under a yellow filter around a random Middle Eastern looking country because that’s what a lot of Hollywood action movies are. This one is no different and its story is effectively ornamental, no one actually cares about what happens to these characters or indeed about any of the major elements of the story. Indeed, if this film didn’t star Chris Hemsworth there is a good chance this wouldn’t have even been made, let alone released. The story is not even a little bit important, if you’ve seen one “White guy goes all gun happy in a Middle Eastern looking country” movie then congrats, you know what to expect.
Where this film actually excels is in the action scenes, no doubt because the director is a stunt coordinator and knows how to assemble a good bit of action. Yes, every single action scene is bloody and visceral and you can feel every punch, and it all looks incredible. From little things like a kitchen fight scene between David Harbour and Chris Hemsworth to the 11-minute long take that goes through buildings, multiple cars and more bodies than I dare to count, every action scene is engaging and effective.
They don’t pretend like this is a job that would be done easily with a small body count and no bloodshed. No, this is a do or die mission where anything is up for grabs and anyone can be taken out at any second. You might see someone down in a hail of bullets or slammed into the pointy bits on a rake, it’s going to be violent but it’s also going to be incredibly shot. All the praise in the world to the director and his stunt team because they made damn sure they put everything they could think of on screen.
There are a few little elements of the film that really help make it work, one of the big ones is the introduction of a child gang which repeatedly makes our hero have to stop and go “Oh god, do I actually have to shoot a kid in a face” and watching him try to avoid needing to do that makes for a fascinating character moment. It also tells you everything you need to know about the films bad guy, a cruel coward who will send literal children to do his dirty work. It creates some of the most intense fight scenes and one brutally shocking moment right near the end and again, the fact the film wasn’t willing to play nice was something I kind of admire about it, even if everything else about it is very by the books.
Extraction may not be revolutionary, but for a few hours, it’s a decent action flick that lets its star prove that he’s a lot more than just Thor and lets the director show off just what he can do when given the chance. If nothing else, see it for the 11-minute long take that will have you genuinely wondering how the hell they pulled that off. It’s a fun ride, even if I’ve been on a lot of very similar rides in my lifetime.