Netflix’s ‘Extraction’ review

Heat: While boasting excellent action, the rest of Netflix’s ‘Extraction’ is forgettable and not worth writing home about. Pictured is Chris Hemsworth as merc Tyler Rake  

Nicholas Solomon

“Extraction” showed up on Netflix without much hype or promotion. I saw an announcement of it as well as a trailer released by Netflix a couple weeks ago, but nothing else.

You think it would have a big release, since the movie is headlined by Chris Hemsworth and the Russo brothers, the directors of Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.  That being said, I was still excited to put it on. The trailer showed a generic story, but with an interesting setting, and even more impressive, yet toned down John Wick-ian action. I am always up for a movie with excellent action, so I put it on the day it released.

Now, this movie has excellent action, there is no disputing that. Long takes of knife fights, gunfights and car chases. I found the action I was looking for, if a bit needlessly toned down in little ways. Normally, I could forgive if the rest of the plot was meh if the action was so frequent and excellent (as I do have a love for trashy horror, I do love mindless action). This time its different – the film is plot-heavy and overbearing at times. While some movies can rely solely on its action to keep me satisfied, it is different for this one.

The basic gist of “Extraction” is that Australian mercenary Tyler (Chris Hemsworth), has to save the son of an Indian drug lord after he is kidnapped by another crime lord, whose motivations are executed so underwhelmingly as to make me forget constantly. It ends up just making him out to be what he is: a cartoonish villain. That being said, the plot is boring, and its only real saving grace is Tyler and the extraction target Ovi, played by Rudhraksh Jaiswal, and their interactions. Tyler himself is a bland character, being the badass soldier with nothing to lose, but Ovi makes things interesting in terms of a son-figure dynamic. That brings up one of my biggest problems with the movie: the lead. This is very subjective, but for me at least, most action movies are just as good as their lead. So many Stallone movies just wouldn’t work without him, the same with a Schwarzenegger type. I have watched many of their movies just because they were in the lead.

While I definitely like Hemsworth, I definitely think they should have either given him something more interesting to work with or just had a different actor to begin with. This movie definitely could have come out in the 80s or 90s, albeit with less advanced action. For me, he doesn’t carry enough of the charisma or cool factor to lead an action movie, and he isn’t even given much of a chance to go beyond an edgy operator. It is different than say a Momoa, whose Aquaman movie relied much on the viewer’s buying in of his charisma and likeability, because this is a serious role. He doesn’t pull me out of the movie at all. The point is, action movies need a strong or well-written lead, and you won’t find one here, regardless of his impeccable wristwear style, with an excellent G-Shock and an overwhelming amount of bracelets, matching my sort of taste.

Sadly, while definitely one of the better Netflix Original movies I have seen, I just can’t get past the lukewarm story. While it has two good leads with a solid dynamic, I cannot forgive just how boring and uninteresting the story is. It could have had the intensity of say a peak Michael Mann-directed movie, but aside from the action, it just doesn’t have that, and is closer to just the opposite. All in all, the movie is definitely a great time killer for quarantine, putting it on a Friday night is what it is best for, but outside of that, with its formidable action, it’s just really forgettable, and could have been much more. I can definitely see the director Sam Hargrave making better movies (and I suspect the meh plot is the Russo’s doing), so here’s to hoping the next one is better.

Edited by Diana Martinez-Ponce, Abbie Barth, Joelle Conway, Shelby Spradling