Extraction review: A visceral ride
Ivan Radford | On 23, Apr 2020
Director: Sam Hargrave
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, Golshifteh Farahani, Priyanshu Painyuli, David Harbour
Watch Extraction online in the UK: Netflix UK
Extraction is a film about a mercenary hired to carry out an extraction. If that’s the kind of subtlety you want from your Friday night’s entertainment, you won’t be disappointed.
The film, penned by Joe Russo, stars Chris Hemsworth as Tyler Rake (yes, really), a black market gun for hire who accepts the job of rescuing the son of India’s most powerful drug lord (Rudhraksh Jaiswal). He’s been snatched, you see, by another powerful drug lord (Priyanshu Painyuli) – and if that doesn’t surprise you, you’ve got the measure of this beefcake, masculine, testosterone-fest of cinema. This is not the place you come to for nuanced female characters, or even nuanced characters full stop.
Chris Hemsworth is fantastic as Tyler Rake, a broken man with nothing to lose, whose own death wish competes with the hostility of all those he’s fighting against. He has some fun when Rake reunites with an old friend played by David Harbour, but he’s mainly required to swagger and glare his way through proceedings with little conversation and his does so with real physical authority and no end of gruff charisma.
But Hemsworth isn’t the reason to check out Extraction: the real star of the show is director Sam Hargrave. He joins John Wick’s directors as the latest stunt coordinator to step up to the helm, and his directorial debut doesn’t disappoint. The choreographer for Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War, his work with Joe Russo and Anthony Russo has give Marvel’s Cinematic Universe a hard-hitting clout and rivetingly in-your-face showdowns. Here, he’s given a chance to let rip at full-tilt, and it shows.
From helicopters hitting bridges to trucks hitting bad guys, it’s an onslaught of visceral action, as Tyler is penned in by the villain’s network of corrupt cops and never-ending henchmen. But while there’s claustrophobic intensity in the one-on-one fisticuffs, there are also stunning chase sequences that feel chaotic and freewheeling, not least thanks to the way Hargrave throws his characters off rooftops and chucks the camera down with them, or how he flies in through the back of a car and out through the other side in what appears to be a 10-minute single-take hot pursuit.
The result is an impressively adrenaline-fuelled ride that knows exactly what it is – braun, little brains and even more braun. It arrives on Netflix in the same week as Sky’s new series Gangs of London, from The Raid director Gareth Evans. While both trade in familiar genre punches and stock characters, they also cement the new age of action filmmakers taking the reins with a commitment to practical, physical carnage. And that, in itself, is exciting to see unfold.
Extraction is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.