With a majority of Filipinos stuck home in quarantine, Chris Hemsworth fans eagerly anticipated seeing Thor in a new film again. They found themselves not disappointed over his newest movie Extraction, which premiered on Netflix last April 25 only to become the top trending movie in the Philippines that weekend.
The Extraction trailer promised andrenaline-pumping action and this, the movie undoubtedly delivered and not surprisingly so, as first time full feature director Sam Hargrave is more known in Hollywood as a stuntman and stunt coordinator. Could he be following the footsteps of the John Wick franchise’s director Chad Stahelski?
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The movie opens with a scene which I foresaw as a snippet from the film’s third act. It quickly transitions into a kind of dream sequence that brings him to present time. This setup all looks kinda familiar. Oh, right! That’s how John Wick starts. Hmmm… But let’s see, we gotta give this film more of a fighting chance. -1
So Hemworth plays mercenary Tyler Rake with so much emotional baggage that he chugs on some bourbon early in the morning in lieu of a caffeine habit. Meanwhile, his drop-dead gorgeous associate Nik Kahn (played by Golshifteh Farahani) briefs him on his mission. It is clearly a trope and guess what the other trope is? He’s the best at what he does nonetheless. Hemsworth does a fantastic job as always, even without bringing anything new to the table coz the material ain't requiring much anyway. +3
The setup in act one is, um, serviceable, as the kidnapping progresses leading to the extraction, which consequently is the title of the film. Wow, that's genius. +1
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Finally, the action begins and it is nonstop. The choreography is fresh and so much fun to watch. The entertainment value of this overshadows the weak set-up and story build-up at the start. It still feels like a John Wick film, as the hero and the major villain both seem to be super human for the filmmakers to be able to prolong each stunt sequence. Nevertheless, the action is unequivocally delightful. +4
Then there’s this ‘one-long-shot’ that’s all the buzz among audiences and filmmakers alike, which ultimately makes this film somewhat, not really that forgettable. The shot starts with a chase on foot that becomes a car chase and ends up with the leads being chased inside a building. Well, of course, in case you don’t know, there are surely what we call, invisible cuts in that 20 minute sequence or so. But inequivocally, it is masterfully shot and the final product is glorious~ It’s the kind of sequence that directors dream of and that cinematographers and assistant directors, dread because of the requirements to mount this kind of scene. +5
Now let’s talk about Hemsworth’s support cast who are mostly composed of Indian actors. As mentioned, the camera loves Golshifteh Farahani. Given her screen presence given her limited screen time and not much of a range needed for her role, she definitely makes a mark—in my heart. She is definitely a star to watch. +3
The reason for the extraction is the kidnap victim Ovi (played by Rudhraksh Jaiswal). His interaction with Tyler and the bond they create pretty much makes up for the heart of the story, which is quite thinly explored and is obviously just put there to tug on emotional heartstrings. Regardless, Jaiswal is a gifted actor breathing life into Ovi making you want to root for his circumstantial friendship with Tyler. +3
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Another remarkable support character is Saju played by Randeep Hooda, who starts off as an enemy of Tyler but eventually becomes an ally. Their action sequences are one of the superhuman ones that I previously mentioned. His character arc also adds to the heart of the plot and Hooda’s performance is spot-on as a henchman forced to do whatever it takes to keep his family alive. +3
Apparently, the Russo brothers of Avengers: Endgame are one of the chief participants in the development of the film’s story and screenplay based on a book called Ciudad. Honestly, this does not seem like a novel to me as the film relied mostly on the action sequences more than the story. -2
Overall, if you’re willing to leave the nitpicking outside the door as you commit to just enjoy Extraction for what it is—a blood-pumping swashbuckler—it becomes quite a delightful ride with a total of 19 points. Now, could there be a sequel to this and will it end up as the new John Wick as Tyler has to extract a new victim? Quite possibly 'cause he’s been established to be superhuman anyway even if he fell off a bridge with a neck wound where the bullet went through and through.
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Photos courtesy of Netflix