Hello there movie fan! This is your digestible Film Roar review of the Netflix action-thriller Extraction starring Chris Hemsworth.
We’ve summarised our main points in this abridged transcript of the review from the podcast episode. It doesn’t cover everything and there’s more to discover on the podcast itself so if you have some time, give the episode a listen. But if you want simple crib notes about the film and our thoughts, this review will do the job!
Extraction review begins from 10:00 on the podcast version.
Iain: Extraction starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by stuntman and fight choreographer, Sam Hargrave. This is his feature film debut. So basically the story is Chris Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, a fearless black market mercenary who embarks on the most deadly extraction mission of his career when he’s enlisted to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord in India. But as all good simple missions do, it goes wrong very, very quickly. So Hemsworth is pretty much fighting for his life across India with this kid in tow. This is also produced by the Russos, who obviously are responsible for Avengers. I guess on the surface, I think if I was to read that synopsis, it’s very generic action. But I think a lot of things appealed to me to just go watch it. I think the first thing is the setting. I mean, India’s quite a unique setting for an action film.
Christian: And so the opening cinematography is quite breathtakingly strong reds. The urban landscape presented, it did suck me in.
Iain: This is something a bit different for Hemsworth too. Obviously, he’s been doing Thor for nearly a decade now.
Christian: Yes. 2010 wasn’t it?
Iain: Yeah, doing Thor for about a decade. A lot of people don’t necessarily think about what Hemsworth could do post Thor when he actually finishes his stint with Marvel. And obviously there’s been bits and pieces. They tried Men in Black International last year, which wasn’t good. Read more in my review on Bunkazilla. It was not a good film and there were good intentions behind the film. But it had very, very lazy writing and I think the chemistry he was supposed to have with Tessa Thompson from Thor: Ragnarok didn’t necessarily come over into Men in Black and unfortunately feels more like a problem of the script rather than a problem of the acting. But I think Extraction is kind of the first time you can kind look at Chris Hemsworth and go “If he went down the action route, he’d probably be okay for a couple more years.”
Christian: Yeah. He’s a solid choice. I mean, like he has the physique for it, certainly. And it is very, very much figure back in the 80s heyday of action movies. He seems more Stallone than Schwarzenegger. But I just didn’t really find Extraction a particularly engaging movie, to be honest. I don’t know if it’s just because it felt a bit too derivative of a number of posts Taken action movies.
Iain: Yeah, I think a lot of a lot of the reviews that I’ve been seeing have been similar saying the action sequences and Hemsworth are good. Everything around those parts are not necessarily as strong. They are right. I’m not going to sit here and say otherwise because I’m because I mentioned my Facebook after watched it that Extraction is like higher tier Netflix films. I said that because this is the first time I’ve watched Netflix film on that I would actually like to have seen in the cinema. I think it would have added more intensity to some of the action sequences. Also with Netflix films, they do look cheap. There are one or two visual effects here in Extraction that don’t look good and you can tell they are visual effects. But I think the rest of it I would’ve been fun seeing this in a cinema.
Christian: Yeah. I doubt I would ever seek this film out again. You’re right. I think it does have a more of a cinematic feel to it than some of the other action orientated Netflix spectaculars. Although I haven’t seen Six Underground and I probably won’t to be honest, because it looked like that film would melt my brain.
Iain: I have seen Six Underground. It’s pretty much Michael Bay as you expect. He just goes and does his usual film for Netflix.
Christian: (Pretending to be Michael Bay) “I’m just gonna point the camera. All these explosions and hope for the best way to fix it in the edit.”
Iain: It’s not as bad as some of the Transformers films. So I think I gave Six Underground possible three-star rating*.
*- Iain didn’t actually give stars for Six Underground in the Bunkazilla review. But it would still have got three stars if he had to award stars then.
Christian: Fair enough. So Six Underground is not gonna be in the criterion collection like Armageddon?
Iain: No, no, no. Not at all. So yeah, I think one of the things I’ve noticed with action films lately is if it’s directed by like a stunt person or stunt coordinators, then the action sequences come across amazing.
Iain: Because the one sequence that has got Extraction a lot of focus in articles and interviews is an 11-minute sequence begins when Tyler’s pickup has gone horribly wrong and his whole team’s wiped out.
Christian: [jokingly] Spoiler! Well, it’s signposted.
Iain: So you’ve got Tyler and Ovi trying to escape the person who’s trying to wipe out the team. But then you’re also going up against corrupt cops and then you’ve got a SWAT team and it just keeps building intensity. It becomes like a one-take style action sequence but you move in and out between different parties. So you’ll follow Hemsworth for a moment and then you’ll move into the police side to do their search and then Hemsworth and the police collide and then it moves on. I found it a very impressive sequence.
Christian: I don’t know. I found it took me out of the action because I just spent the entire sequence thinking it’s not one take. It reminded me of a similar sequence in Atomic Blonde. Towards the end, where this is false, one tracking shot, which I couldn’t stand. I don’t know if I’m an outlier because a lot of people, a lot of my friends and peers, they all praise that sequence to high heavens. But I find that these trick one track shots a bit too clean and a bit too fluid. It’s almost taken the wrong lessons from the second and third Bourne films. I just found it a bit too smooth. Speaking of video games, it just felt like more of a videogame than a movie and it’s just too sanitized now. It’s my personal opinion obviously. And I’m seeing this kind of sequence more often. There was a moment in Extraction where Hemsworth pushes the boy over the roof to another building and the way the camera was framed was so painfully awkward. It’s obviously an artificial edge here. There were a few moments like that and I’m just halfway through and I’m so bored. I really don’t care about this. So you had a different experience, I take it, Iain?
Iain: I think I enjoyed it for the action sake because it feels like it’s a hybrid. To me, it feels like a hybrid of Man on Fire and John Wick and when it gets to some of the more intense scrapes face to face. It certainly feels more like John Wick.
Christian: But did you watch this and wish you were watching John Wick instead?
Iain: No. The funny thing I’ve noticed is that John Wick inspired action sequences to be a bit more inventive.
Christian: And be a bit more kind of fantastic?
Iain: Yeah, and not necessarily go for like the old school Bourne. Because basically when Bourne came out and you had you have the closeness of the fight and you have the camera shaking left to right to for that to make you feel like “Oh, I’m actually in the fight!” Everyone started doing that style of sequence. And some and some people did it poorly and some people did it without issues. The fact is, if it wasn’t Paul Greengrass, you were pretty much screwed.
Christian: Yeah, I agree with that, actually.
Iain: John Wick has come along, it was very unassuming for the first time because many people thought this just looks like generic action. But then people talk about the action sequences and talk about how it also revitalized Keanu Reeves’ career again after Matrix. So naturally, a lot of films are all trying this style now. I think the interesting thing is you can appreciate when it is a stunt coordinator directing films like this. Extraction’s director, Sam Hargrave, has worked on Atomic Blonde. So when it comes to stunt performers taking the director’s chair, they’ve got an idea of what the audience is probably going to engage with more from an action standpoint, not necessarily from an emotional standpoint.
Christian: Yeah, my main criticism this film was I just didn’t really care about anything.
Iain: Chris Hemsworth does his best stuff as he possibly can with the material of basically a grieving father.
Christian: I think the performances in the film are fine but there’s nothing exceptional throughout. But then the film isn’t exactly demanding that from its performers. There are interesting moments. It definitely felt like there was more thought put into this movie than something than some of the similar dross we’ve gotten over last few years. I felt I found the subplot with the Indian mob boss (played by Priyanshu Painyuli) and his underlings quite interesting.
Iain: Yeah. If there is one thing I can say about Extraction is that it’s not a pretty film be prepared for some shocking violence here and there. It is rated 18 in the UK.
Christian: It is quite a bloody affair.
Iain: Ultimately, if you’re expecting something that is jaw-droppingly original, you are not going to find it with Extraction. It’s a competently made action film that will serve this purpose for people who want for people who want a little bit of escapism, maybe on a Saturday night, Friday night at home during lockdown at the moment.
Christian: I’d imagine I’d have enjoyed this more with a group of mates and a few beers or single malt scotch if I was being more accurate, to be honest. It feels more like a fun party movie. But I can’t see anyone seeking this film out in a year’s time, to be honest.
Iain: I imagine some people probably go back to Extraction to show off maybe one or two the action sequences or fights. Especially if they’re die-hard action film fans. I remember when I was watching a lot of Hong Kong Legend DVD releases and there were fight sequences that I just adored. When I had mates around I would be “Look at this fight scene! Look at how cool this fight scene is!”
Christian: I’ve been bingeing on some of the films from 88 studios and Eureka films have been re-releasing all of these old Hong Kong Legends titles. I watched Iron Monkey and Once Upon a Time in China. The thing I realised watching these as an adult is that I watch them for the set pieces, but I’m not entirely sure if I enjoy the plot. Like Iron Monkey, the plot is basically Chinese medicine is better than Western medicine. It’s true. It’s a piece of nationalistic propaganda with incredible action sequences. I would probably show people the bamboo scene fight at the end.
Iain: Anyway, with Extraction. I think for most people this would be a watch once movie. I think I probably would revisit this at some point, maybe just to revisit an action sequence if I’m bored. But other than that, I know it’s not original. I know it’s not jaw-droppingly stunning stuff either. I do like the action sequences. Everything else, you have said it earlier in our chat, there’s not much emotion there. I think the most I can pretty much give Extraction is three stars.
Christian: Yeah, there are points where I was thinking to award a high two. But I think three is fair.
Extraction is available to stream exclusively on Netflix right now!
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Film Roar podcast. New episodes are released weekly!