Review: Extraction

It appears quite likely that battered and bloody mercenary-with-a-conscience Tyler Rake will live to see another day, and facilitate another extraction, amidst a barrage of gunfire, RPGs, exploding helicopters and myriad villains. If you’ve already watched Extraction, fast becoming Netflix’s most-watched feature film ever, then it’s possible you weren’t quite sure if the epilogue was designed to leave the door open for Rake’s return. Ka-ching. Wonder no more. Screenwriter Joe Russo has already agreed to pen another installment of the action thriller based on the 2014 graphic novel “Ciudad” by Ande Parks. But let’s be real. I didn’t watch Extraction for Russo or director Sam Hargrave’s footprint (embossed on several Avengers movies). I watched it for Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Rush). The Aussie doesn’t disappoint, even if the film itself does come off as a John Wick wanna-be. With John Wick: Chapter Four pushed way back to a post-pandemic (hopefully) May 2022 release date, Extraction serves as a serviceable placeholder.

Here’s the gist: Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) is a distressed mercenary sent to Bangladesh to rescue the kidnapped son of an Indian drug lord. The mission goes haywire. Rake and the boy end up on the run. There’s a bounty on their heads. Lots of people get shot. Lots of blood gets spattered about. The situation looks grim. And Rake – a trained killer with a soft spot where kids are concerned – constantly puts himself in the line of fire to get the boy to a predetermined extraction point so he can be airlifted to safety. The plot is thin, but Hemsworth’s macho yet sensitive and occasionally quippy demeanor (“I’ve just been attacked by the Goonies from hell”) proves quite engrossing, and the lengthy, hyper-violent action scenes are expertly choreographed.

In other words, Extraction is a decent distraction if you can stomach the violence and forgive what some may consider a ‘white savior’ narrative. Only time will tell if the film’s success is a mere byproduct of the coronavirus quarantine (ala Tiger King) or the start of something big. Regardless, if Hemsworth signs on for more, I’m in.

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