Review by Dan Skip Allen
Netflix is usually known for its groundbreaking tv shows and mini-series. But they would change the game when they started attaching big-name talent in the director's chair, such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, and Michael Bay. With that comes high-profile actors and actresses as well. In the past year films starring Ben Affleck, Robert De Niro, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Meryl Streep, and Ryan Reynolds have premiered on the streaming service. With the Russo Brothers, Joe and Anthony, forming a production company, it was a natural fit for AGBO to work with Netflix. They are usually hands-off and by now they have earned that based on their reputation from working with Marvel and Disney. Their second project out of the gate is Extraction starring Chris Hemsworth.
Hemsworth plays a black market mercenary who likes to drink a little too much. His group gets a job where he is tasked with rescuing a boy who has been kidnapped. He's the son of a big international crime lord. The film is set in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It's teeming with people and obstacles for Rake and his team to get the kid out safe and sound. Most films like this have well thought out action set pieces and Extraction is no different. The problem is when the action isn't hot and heavy the film grinds to a halt. Based on a graphic novel Ciudad, from a script from Joe and Anthony Russo, the film just isn't that interesting until the proverbial shit is hitting the fan. A few subplots are meant to keep the viewer interested but are just a distraction from the action.
With the MCU, the Russos had decades of comic books to fall back on, in addition to two proven writers, Markus and McFeely, with whom they worked on all of their MCU Films. This time out they are only the writers and not the directors. Sam Hargrave is prominently known as a stuntman on the Avengers and Thor films. In fact, Sam has been Chris Evans's stunt man on the Captain America and Avengers films. This is his first film as director, although The Russos must have had trust in him. The sixty-five million dollar budget shows in the production value and cinematography as well as a serviceable cast.
Along with Hemsworth, David Harbour shows up as Gaspar, a friend to Rake who has his own agenda. An all-Indian supporting cast rounds out the film aside from Hargrave that plays a sniper on Rake's team. Co-star Rudhraksh Jaiswal is the breakout star of this film as the kidnapped boy. He holds his own alongside Hemsworth and company. Also in a supporting role is Golshifteh Farhani as a liaison to Rake who has an interesting relationship with him. There might be more to her than meets the eye. As advertised, the stunts and choreography are first-rate. Hargrave's background is in stunt work, so they better look real. Filmed on location in Ahmedabad, the film looks like it is in a different world from our country. That brings authenticity to it like it takes place in an actual war.
Hargrave and the Russos do their best to make Extraction seem as real and authentic as possible. Getting realistic actors to the roles and a bankable star like Hemsworth doesn't hurt either. First-rate production value, cinematography, and stunt work goes a long way to making the film accessible to all viewers. A manageable budget, 65 million, is just enough to get what they needed from this film. Where this film falters, though, is its script and character-building. The script doesn't flesh out the characters enough to make the viewer care that much about them. A boy gets kidnapped and a special team gets hired to get him home to his father. I just didn't care about whether or not he got home or not. The protagonist isn't that interesting either. All in all, this film has some good parts, but as a whole, it is an uninteresting film.
Extraction is now streaming on Netflix.