"You drown not by falling into the river, but by staying submerged in it"
Extraction is the newest film to be released on Netflix and it is the first production involving Chris Hemsworth and the Russo Brothers since Avengers Endgame.
Extraction follows the alcoholic mercenary Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) as he's been given a mission by fellow mercenary Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani) to rescue a boy- Ovi Mahajan Jr (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the son of a powerful drug lord. The boy has been kidnapped by rival drug lord Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli) who has hired a corrupt police force to stop Rake or anyone from rescuing Ovi.
Rake is a man who is haunted by his past and has nothing to lose, with the act of rescuing Ovi ultimately becoming his redemption. The sub-story includes the drug lord’s henchman Saju (Randeep Hooda) who has also been tasked to saved Ovi as the life of his family is threatened.
Despite being a production by famous directors, the Russos only wrote and produced it, as the film is actually directed by Sam Hargrave who acts as a stunt coordinator for the brothers. In his directional debut, his experience with stunts shows as the action delivers.
Multiple sections excel, including a sequence that starts with a car chase, with Rake and Ovi fleeing police officers, which then leads to Hemsworth indiscriminately murdering everyone in a hotel before ending it all with a climactic knife fight in the streets.
What is also notable about the hotel section, is that Hargrave quickly and seamlessly follows the perspectives of multiple people including Rake, Ovi, and the said men who are chasing him, creating more tension which in turn never feels disjointed. Filmed at times to look like one take, the action is fast, brutal, and entertaining.
The film is also supported by fine performances, including Rudhraksh Jaiswal as Ovi who gains sympathy as a scared little boy in a world that is trying to kill him. Our antagonist played by Painyuli may not say much, but he does deliver with a sleazy charisma that he makes his own.
David Harbour of Stranger Things fame also stars as Rake’s friend Gaspar, but of course, the man who steals the show is Chris Hemsworth.
Hemsworth has improved his craft over the years as he has proven himself to not just be a great action star, but also a valuable dramatic and comedic actor. In arguably one of his most serious roles, he does a fine job with the limited material he is given. There's also just something funny about Hemsworth beating up machete-wielding teenagers and dismissing them as “little shits” in his Australian accent.
Considering how entertaining and absurd the kills are, the main issue of the film is that it takes itself too seriously. There are no twists, no turns, and few attempts at humour, with little development for our characters.
While there is nothing wrong with making an action film that has serious themes, the script is too predictable and not strong enough to make one fully invested. Even the relationship between Rake and Ovi doesn't develop as they don't even talk to each other until 50 minutes into the movie, and when they do, they get along instantly. Hemsworth tries his best to elevate the script, but the story is just not strong enough. The Saju story is not as powerful as intended, with the character getting little to no development.
For a film like this, the story is second as the film delivers with its excellently crafted car chases and action sequences.
Extraction is probably twenty minutes too long, and when the film slows down it suffers, but when the action is unrelenting, it is an absolute blast to watch, and certainly isn't a terrible way to spend an evening. Hargrave is someone to keep an eye on, and hopefully Hemsworth purses more dramatic roles in the future.