Extraction is directed by Sam Hargrave. It tells the story of a mercenary who undertakes a dangerous mission in Bangladesh, to rescue the son of India’s biggest drug lord.
In one of the rare crossovers of Hollywood and Bollywood, Sam Hargrave has done a fairly good job as the director.
Previously a stunt-coordinator in the Marvel movies, mainly with the Russo brothers, this is the first time he is helming a film. His elaborate understanding of stunt choreography is visible precisely as Extraction is nothing beyond the sum of its terrific action pieces.
To put it straight, ‘Extra-action’ are the two words you can use to describe this film. There is nothing else apart from the stuntwork that holds your attention.
The script is full of eye-rolling clichés and one-dimensional characters that refrain you from giving a damn about anything that happens.
The film kicks off by introducing its leading man (Chris Hemsworth as Tyler) severely wounded on a bridge.
It is a traditional way for an action film to begin, mainly from the 80s, to build curiosity for how the protagonist got in such a messy situation. Extraction is a full-blooded reminder of how banal those films used to be.
There are characters that are steeply introduced and forgotten (a wasted Pankaj Tripathi). Some of them are even thrown haphazardly amidst action, apparently to produce some shock value, but to no advantage.
This is something we are used to seeing in South Indian entertainers or the b-grade films of Hollywood. But for a screenplay that is written by Joe Russo (co-director of Arrested Development and the Avengers films), you expect some class and novelty.
What we get instead is an extremely derivative script that feels intentionally written as a no-brainer potboiler. As a result, it feels unfair to criticize Hargrave as the director for the amount of effort he tries to put in to make this film, for the least, a watchable action affair.
Extraction has some of the most original, often insane action scenes that include oners’ and beautifully choreographed fistfights. Though many of its scenes are reminiscent of John Wick films and Hardcore Henry, there is a lot of inventiveness in their staging and filming.
There is one standout action scene during the halfway point that is shot and edited to feel like an oner. It runs for 10-12 minutes and combines fantastic camerawork.
But again, much of its impact is diluted by the fact they have no meaning to them. The script fails to translate any of its characters, and hence, it is tough to connect or root for anyone to make it back home.
Hemsworth, in particular, is given a cliché backstory. We are shown that the memory of his dead son haunts him, and he is willing to die on a mission.
Just as unoriginal as it sounds, it is such barebones character development that kills all the fun.
The boy (Rudraksh Jaiswal), who acts very ordinary, is also limited to a few exchanges with Hemsworth that are used awkwardly at the end, to build a false ambiguity.
There is an extended cast featuring Golshifteh Farahani, David Harbour, Priyanshu Painyuli, among many others (including the director as well in a brief role) – but none of them get anything significant to do.
Randeep Hooda gets the maximum screen time after Hemsworth, and he shines in the action department.
In the aforementioned 12-minute oner, he gives Hemsworth a run for his money. I doubt there could have been a better replacement for him that would have matched the physical dexterity of Chris Hemsworth (maybe Vidyut Jamwal, but not sure of the height).
And that’s all about Extraction. It is a victim of dull-writing that could have benefited with a better script.
It has some excellent stunt work, good editing of action scenes, and competent performance from Hemsworth. Beyond this – there is nothing more you can extract from it.
Watch it on Netflix, if such kind of films appeal to you. See the trailer below.
Rating: 2 / 5
What do you feel about Extraction? Do you agree it could have been better with smart writing? Share your thoughts in the comment section.