Running Time: 117 mins.
Where Can You See It?: Netflix
Premise: Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), a black market mercenary who has lost his family, is hired to rescue the kidnapped son of an international crime lord and make it out of one of the world’s most impenetrable cities alive.
Behind-the-Scenes: Director Sam Hargrave served as Hemsworth’s stunt man on several of the Marvel movies. He’s making his directorial debut here. The script was written by Joe Russo, and produced by him and his brother Anthony. You may have heard of them before. They directed a little movie called Avengers Endgame last year. Based on a graphic novel.
The Good: This is the sort of red-blooded action film that Hollywood used to make all the time in the ’80s and ’90s. On that level, it’s pretty successful. Sam Hargrave is an inspired choice to direct and really acquits himself well. Like Chad Stahelski (John Wick) and David Leitch (Deadpool 2), his stuntman background gives him a lot of expertise on staging action in a clean and exciting way. It’s not overly edited – in fact, the best scene in the whole film is a sustained 12-minute action sequence around the half-hour mark that is made to look like one long tracking shot. The action starts on foot and then into a car chase, and the camera glides along in and out of cars and buildings with almost effortless ease. The whole sequence is incredible and makes this film worth watching. Hemsworth is reliably great – he embraces his inner John Wick and Rambo, in a role that requires him to dispatch hundreds of bad guys with hand-to-hand combat and headshots.
The Bad: The screenplay isn’t going to win any Oscars. Extraction is predictable from frame one, and despite the brief presence of Stranger Things’ David Harbour, lacks compelling actors in the side margins. Whenever the action slows down, you may find yourself reaching for your phone. For some reason, there are 15 minutes of end credits?
Should You See It?: Yes, for that one action scene alone. That one will have people talking. Netflix has tried to replicate the big screen blockbuster many times before, but Extraction may feel like the first one that actually succeeds on that front. I would have paid good money to see this in a theater, and I would have been satisfied.
Star Rating: *** out of 5 stars
Better Than: 6 Underground, Bright
Worse Than: John Wick