The John Wick formula is certainly an enchanting one – Put an accomplished stunt coordinator in the director’s chair, cast a bankable star, and watch the bullets rain with exciting choreography and mesmerizing cinematography. Netflix’s latest Extraction invites the audience to examine the following statement: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) is a fearless black market mercenary with nothing left to lose when his skills are solicited to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord. But in the murky underworld of weapons dealers and drug traffickers, an already deadly mission approaches the impossible, forever altering the lives of Rake and the boy.
Directed by Sam Hargrave, longtime second unit director and stunt coordinator on films such as Avengers: Endgame and Atomic Blonde, to say that Extraction excels in its gripping action sequences would be an understatement. Whether it’s its neck-breaking speed, or action sequences ranging from car chases to exciting choreographed fight scenes, the action in the Netflix original is insanely entertaining to watch. On top of that, the film features an impressive 12 minute long simulated one-take sequence that’s one of the most memorable action sequences in recent memory.
While the film dazzles with its fight sequences, it falters hard in its plot and characterization. Despite the script’s efforts in creating emotional investment by giving Hemsworth’s Rake mysterious flashbacks, the film struggles to develop his character in an organic sense. Unfortunately, the film’s attempt to generate empathy for the lead character comes across like a job interview on Skype (or is it Zoom nowadays?). To make matters worse, every villain in the film comes across as either flat or one-dimensional.
To Hargrave’s credit, Extraction does integrate deeper themes into its narrative. The theme of children exploitation is heavily featured in the film, and is further explored by its addition of a gang of armed child soldiers as an antagonistic force against our two leads. Furthermore, the unique setting of Dhaka breathes life into the feature. With breathtaking cinematopraphy showcasing a place crawling with criminals, weapons dealers and drug traffickers, it seems that no corners were cut when it comes Newton Thomas Sigel’s skill as a cinematographer.
Ultimately, Extraction is an above average action film that features spectacular stunt work and dazzling cinematography that exudes a lot of style. Had the characterisation and plot were given more depth, the Netflix original could have truly emerged as a modern action classic. That being said, the film will leave you wondering whether Chris Hemsworth is gunning for Keanu Reeves’ title as the most hardcore gun-fu specialist.