‘Extraction’ is full of action, lacks depth in storytelling

Avery Wohleb

“Extraction” packs all of its anticipated action and then some, because Netflix clearly has the money for it.

Directed by Sam Hargrave, “Extraction” is a Netflix original film following Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), a black market mercenary who is addicted to painkillers and struggling with depression after losing a loved one. Purposely reckless with his life, Tyler accepts a mission to rescue Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the kidnapped son of the most powerful crime lord in India, where a series of violent events follow.

With numerous deaths in the first minute, the movie immediately makes clear it is not for the faint of heart. Right from the start, the action is gruesome, intense and never-ending. There are times when it feels as though a fight sequence could have come to a pleasant stop but continues, and emotional moments are often thinned and forgotten about when followed by a particularly gruesome scene. However, the stunts are so well executed and disturbingly engaging, it is hard to feel anything less than impressed when they are over.

The production value of the film is excellent. It is clear that careful attention was paid to the sound mixing and editing, such as making each gunshot appropriately echo or be quickly cut short. The soundtrack works well at dramatizing each scene. However, most of the film is tinted a distracting yellow, a stereotypical depiction of South Asian countries in movies. On top of simply being unrealistic, the tint also takes away some needed authenticity within the already improbable plot, making the film seem even more glorified than necessary.

The directing overall is fine, but it’s bogged down by some failed attempts at pulling off difficult shooting techniques. Much like Sam Mendes’s “1917,” many of the action sequences appear to have been filmed in one continious shot. However, unsteady filming and choppy cuts minimize the effect of the technique and make viewers feel as though they’re playing a video game instead of watching a combat movie. Outside of downplaying a few action scenes, the camera work fits well alongside the interesting, albeit borderline unoriginal plot and is certainly a success for Hargrave’s directorial debut.

Hemsworth once again proves he was made for the action genre with his incredible performance as Tyler. On top of his amazing stunt work, Hemsworth channels an emotional depth as Tyler that is often eluded in his other characters. Jaiswal does a fantastic job alongside him, carving his name on the list of up-and-coming young actors.

The biggest problem with this movie is that it exists. It is nothing more than yet another story about a white male protagonist who saves the day for people of color, while somehow making the audience feel sorry for him along the way. When the plot went as far as having Hemsworth’s character outsourced from Australia for the job, it would have made more sense to make the leading fictional character somebody already in South Asia. Since it is entirely fiction, Netflix should have focused its budget on a new and original story instead of creating more of the same, ethically questionable narratives based around the white savior trope.

Overall, “Extraction” is as equally successful as it is unnecessary. By the end of the action-packed and violent journey, some viewers might wish Hemsworth had kept his hammer and stuck to saving Asgardians.

2.5 out of 5