Extraction is a John Wick-style, compact military thriller on Netflix, but while it lives on the small-screen, it is another dose of high-grade blockbuster pedigree for the streaming platform, delivering one of the more interesting films in the genre that manages to pull off a perfect blend of action and heart, which many others fail to do.
Following a mercenary named Tyler Rake, Extraction tells the story of the underhanded dealings between Indian and Bangladeshi drug-lords, which causes the son of India’s biggest culprit to be snapped up in a ransom scheme. It’s up to Rake to find and extract the young boy safely, all while dodging other entities and crooked cops along the way.
The film is somewhat of a passion project of sorts from the talents behind the Avengers films, with stunt-coordinator-turned-director Sam Hargrave at the helm, the Russo brothers as producers, and, of course, Chris Hemsworth stepping away from his role as Thor to take on something a little more grounded and visceral. With Hargrave in the director’s chair, the focus on well-crafted and meticulously choreographed scenes is apparent from the outset – from intense gunfights to a breathtaking one-shot action sequence about halfway through the film, it’s a brilliant run of tight and clinical action rather than unnecessary bombastic theatrics.
There’s a refreshing familiarity to the cinematography and a grittiness of Extraction, far more reminiscent of Black Hawk Down than the neon-lit moments of John Wick Chapter 3, for example. Dusty streets, derelict buildings, and sweaty gun and fist-fights make up the bulk of the movie, but there’s a fantastic human element to the film too, one which develops between the two unlikely leads – Chris Hemsworth’s Tyler and Rudhraksh Jaiswal’s Ovi.
While Rudhraksh Jaiswal isn’t given too much dialogue, he does deliver some scene-stealing moments when he manages to connect, despite his hostage-like situation, with the detached and cynical Tyler. While he is the son of a notable Indian drug-lord, he is somewhat protected from the horrors of the world, and watching Ovi (dragged around like a ball and chain) experiencing the brutality of the world around him is frighteningly captivating. We often see the action from his point of view, and his expressions are brilliantly portrayed.
And this is where the brilliance of Extraction comes into play. While it may look like a loud, shoot-fest on the surface, it asks a lot of moral questions of the viewer, giving you ample reason to side with all the various personalities in the story. From Rake’s noble need to finish the mission, to the drug-lord’s desperate operatives, Extraction does a great job at showing the lengths those will go to in order to protect their families. Extraction helps you sympathise with even the most detestable of villains, and its frustratingly brilliant. Even Stranger Things‘ lovable David Harbour features in the supporting cast, and adds an interesting complexity to the situation. It’s really good stuff that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
If you’re looking for something to get your heart-rate racing, while also tugging at those cardiovascular-strings, Extraction is a brutal, hard-hitting, and exciting blend of familiar and new talents that shouldn’t be missed.