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Chris Hemsworth Can’t Do It All On His Own In “Extraction”

Without question, Chris Hemsworth is one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars. Playing Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will do that for you. Beyond being the God of Thunder in the MCU, Hemsworth has displayed some underrated comedic chops, but in the new Netflix action flick Extraction, he’s given a largely humorless role. His killing machine main character is a throwback to the types of roles that action heroes a generation ago would have coveted, but the overall final product is uneven. For every step forward the film takes with intensity or a creatively staged action set piece, there’s at least one step back (if not more), in terms of senseless violence, narrative muddling, and some questionable racial elements. It all adds up to something that’s decent enough for a boring afternoon on Netflix, but not quite as good as it could have been.

An old fashioned action movie, it follows a man on, you guessed it, a mission. The mission? To rescue the kidnapped son of an international crime lord currently behind bars. Ovi Mahajan (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) is a kid caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, destined to be used as a pawn in a war between his father and another crime lord in Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli). That is, unless Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) can save the day. Given the assignment by his handler Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani), the job initially seems clear cut. Then, almost immediately, things begin going wrong, with people on all sides dying indiscriminately. Tyler acquires Ovi, but getting him out of the Bangladeshi city of Dhaka will prove to be nearly impossible, with the corrupt military, Ovi’s father’s right hand man Saju (Randeep Hooda), and a rival gangster’s minions all hot on his tail. Tons of murder ensues. Sam Hargrave directs a screenplay by Joe Russo, with the cast also including David Harbour, Pankaj Tripathi, and others. Alex Belcher and Henry Jackman composed the score, the while the cinematography is by Newton Thomas Sigel.

Chris Hemsworth is effective here, though his character is largely a blank slate. There are hints dropped about his past, but Tyler Rake is not what you would call a three dimensional creation. Hemsworth leans into his brutality, dialing back any charm, though his own screen presence is still undeniable. The script from Joe Russo (yes, one half of the Russo Brothers who directed him in a couple of Marvel outings) just isn’t really interested in fleshing him out. It’s far more concerned with setting up one violent scenario after the next. This particularly becomes an issue when the second act gets into gear it’s not immediately clear why every single person in Bangladesh seems set on killing our heroes, nor why Hemsworth doesn’t think twice before killing members of the military. It just becomes an orgy of violence.

Extraction does have some impressive action sequences, but its mean spirit and overly violent nature drown most of that out. Director Sam Hargrave stages a really well done extended scene that’s meant to simulate a single take, but oftentimes here, repetition dilutes the creativity factor. That leaves you thinking about the nonsensical plot more than necessary, which I’m sure wasn’t the intent. Hargrave and Russo want you just to be amped up for the next scene of Hemsworth mowing down dozens of men. For a bit, that may be enough, but by the end, you might just be exhausted, wishing that some actual character development had been done.

Available to stream right now on Netflix, Extraction is mainly for hardcore action fans and those who think Chris Hemsworth can do no wrong. This isn’t a terrible vehicle for him, but Hemsworth is better than the material, that’s for sure. The streaming giant will undoubtedly see good viewership numbers for this high profile title, but one can’t help but wish there was a little more to it. The film offers up action, but not much else…

Extraction is currently streaming on Netflix.

(Photos courtesy of Netflix)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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