Directed by: Sam Hargrave
Written by: Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Golshifteh Farahani, David Harbour, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda
Netflix’s latest big budget blockbuster comes in the form of high octane action thriller Extraction. Featuring a screenplay adapted from graphic novel ‘Cuidad’ (which Marvel’s Joe Russo co-authored), the film marks another collaboration between Chris Hemsworth and the Russo Brothers. Directed by accomplished Marvel stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, Extraction is filmed against a vibrant backdrop of India and Thailand, bringing a new setting to the well-trodden genre.
When the son of an imprisoned crime lord is kidnapped for ransom by a rival competitor, black market mercenary Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) and his crew are sent to Dhaka on a rescue mission. Tasked with retrieving Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) out of one of the World’s most impenetrable cities, the ex-soldier quickly finds himself in a deadly race against time. With the two facing a barrage of desperate criminals and corrupt police round each corner, can Rake really save himself and the boy?
Inspired by Joe Russo’s love of the action-thriller genre; you could mistake the opening of gritty Extraction for just another generic outing. Hemsworth’s reckless mercenary is tormented by a painful past, and appears to have a death wish. Thankfully there’s more to this drama than meets the eye; yes it’s violent and action-packed, but at the heart of the film there’s a touching tale of redemption reminiscent of Man on Fire. The tense central cat and mouse chase, coupled with a number of emotional twists and turns along the way, makes for one of Netflix’s best original films to date.
As expected, Hemsworth brings plenty of physicality to the role with a number of impressively choreographed and brutal fight sequences, but there’s also a lot of emotional depth on offer from the Aussie actor. Briefly explored through Thor’s battle with depression in Avengers Endgame, Hemsworth delves further into a layered character, resulting in a surprisingly heartfelt and vulnerable performance. Going toe-to-toe with the post Avenger is fellow standout Randeep Hooda, who impressively holds his own in both the action scenes and emotional range. Although underused, Golshifteh Farahani is equally as powerful as Nik in a particularly impressive arc, along with David Harbour who brings a fantastic dynamic with Hemsworth to the film.
But where the movie truly shines is in the utterly thrilling, immersive and realistic fight sequences that genuinely rival those in John Wick. Once in Dhaka, Rake and his team quickly spark a violent and equally brutal shootout, resulting in Hemsworth killing a guy with a rake – I know it’s not quite a pencil, but we’ll give him points for resourcefulness! The action sequences which follow are relentless; featuring rooftop and car chases, hand-to-hand combat with multiple weapons, plenty of shootouts and explosions.
Standouts include an 11-minute-long, intricately staged chase with almost seamless editing, much like 1917’s one take, and also the final bridge sequence – the sheer scope of both is extraordinary! Shooting in Ahmedabad, India also brings a certain aesthetic and vibrancy to the film; along with the hustle and bustle of the markets and crowded streets adding further challenges to Rake’s mission.
Featuring some of the most exhilarating and ambitious action sequences and fight choreography since John Wick, Extraction is an outstanding directorial debut for Sam Hargrave. With an outstanding lead performance further cementing Chris Hemsworth’s leading man status – I think it’s time Bond steps aside!