Chris Hemsworth gets a chance to stretch his acting odds as a hardened mercenary hired to save the kidnapped son of a crime lord in Mumbai, India, in Extraction, a new, original action thriller from Netflix. The film is produced by the Russo brothers (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame), which is probably the way the film caught Thor himself as a star. (We can probably thank Netflix for Strange things‘David Harbor’s cameo appears.)
(Some spoilers below, but no major revelations.)
Joe Russo wrote the script and the duo called on stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave to make his directorial debut. Hargrave’s stunt work has been featured in several MCU movies (Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, for example), as well as The hunger Games franchise and Atomic blonde.
The official premise is short and sweet: “Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) is a fearless black market mercenary who embarks on the deadliest mission of his career when he enlists to save the kidnapped son of an international crime lord . “
The fact that Rake lost his own son and is facing the grief and depression that one would expect from such a tragedy is by drinking a lot, popping a lot of oxycontin and taking stupid risks. “You hope that if you rotate the room enough times, you will catch a ball,” said his fellow mercenary and partner Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani).
Extracting the kidnapped Ovi (played by newcomer Rudraksh Jaiswal) is much more difficult than expected. Ovi’s father is currently in prison, with his financial assets frozen. When the henchmen of the Bangladeshi drug lord Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli) kidnap Ovi, he can neither pay the ransom nor the hiring costs of Tyler, Nik and their crew. Instead, the crime lord’s best assistant, Saju (Randeep Hooda), attempts to retake Ovi after Tyler has completed the initial rescue to avoid paying him for the job.
Soon Asif closed the whole city of Dhaka to prevent the escape of Ovi. In addition to the forces of the drug lord, Tyler must fight the local police and the military forces in concert with Asif to make Ovi cross a bridge to (relative) security. The odds are strongly against them. “This kid is a walking corpse,” said Harbour’s Gaspar, a former Tyler’s teammate who now lives in Dhaka. “And there is no way to protect it. The best thing you can do for this child is to put a bullet in his brain. “
There is much to love Extraction, including the beautifully choreographed high octane action sequences, courtesy of Hargrave’s hard-earned expertise, in which Tyler channels his inner John Wick to level the playing field. Thanks to a generous $ 65 million Netflix budget, production values are very high, on par with numerous theatrical releases, and although the plot is sometimes confusing, things are moving at a brisk pace.
Hemsworth is more than capable of the physics required to play Tyler, and also brings the right amount of dark emotional intensity to his depiction of the distressed mercenary. He is supported by an equally solid cast, including Saju from Hooda and Ovi from Jaiswal, a shy and sensitive child who just wants to hang out with his friends after school, and instead finds himself fighting for his life.
That said, the film is a bit thin. There’s not much in the way of surprising the plot twists, and although there are nods to a deeper emotional resonance – notably a brief moment of bonding between Tyler and Ovi during that you are locked up in a temporary shelter – these quickly give way to another sequence of violent action. Extraction is also relentlessly dark. Certainly, the John WicThe franchise also looks into its dark themes and its subject without apologizing. But finally Extraction just don’t have as much fun.
Still, it’s a solid and entertaining action thriller, and a nice addition to the growing catalog of Netflix original movies. In fact, this could be the most important aspect of Extraction: It was designed specifically for digital distribution, rather than large theatrical release – even before the coronavirus pandemic closes cinemas around the world. The Russo brothers, who cut their teeth on television with the series Community, have fully embraced the changing media landscape, easily navigating between successful theatrical outings like Avengers: Endgame and digital outputs like Extraction.
“The best thing Netflix has done is remove the definition of success or quality from the box office,” Joe Russo told Deadline Hollywood in a recent interview. “Films are struggling to be funded the old-fashioned way and models no longer support them. Although he thinks there will always be a place for the common experience of going to the movies, he thinks it will be reserved for successful big budget outings where the economy is more favorable. Streaming services like Netflix can provide an indispensable platform for mid-level movies like Extraction.
“Frankly, I hope the prejudice between digital distribution and theatrical distribution will disappear because I don’t find it useful,” added Joe Russo. “And I don’t think the public, especially the young audience, cares. One of the best stories we have ever had is on television right now thanks to digital distribution. ” Well said.
Extraction is currently broadcasting its own Netflix.