Friday, May 1, 2020


You can pick a part all the flaws in Extraction if you want to (it has been described as a “mindless action movie” by some) but you’d have to go back and do the same for every Bourne & Wick movie, all the Atomic Blondes, Ong Bak’s, Raids and Lundgren/Van Damme films of the late 80's/early 90’s. It should be mentioned that Extraction is certainly from the school of all of those aforementioned films so if you enjoy them, there’s a strong chance you’ll enjoy this new action film from Marvel/Russo brothers stunt choreographer Sam Hargrave.

Right out of the gate Extraction was criticized for falling in to the action movie trope of portraying the evil war-torn brown country as excessively yellow-tinted. While it certainly has an obvious tint of yellow to the overall aesthetic, again - I’m not going blame Extraction for something that’s been going on for decades. It’s definitely weird & unnecessary but we have to start with calling out decades of movies before we even get to Extraction.
Excessive criticism towards a movie like this sounds exhausting to me. You could waste your time with the same criticisms that you'd put on a Paul Thomas Anderson movie (something I am absolutely convinced a lot of film critics do), can find the enjoyment in Extraction because there is plenty.
And to be clear - just because Extraction isn't Phantom Thread or Inherent Vice doesn't mean it shouldn't be taken seriously or talked about at length. I only brought this up because I think some critics and fans judge movies like Extraction weirdly & unfairly. If you're going to judge it or base it on something - do it against a movie like the Bourne Identity. I also feel like everyone wants every movie to be a masterpiece and when a film isn't a masterpiece it's considered pointless or a waste (this is just a feeling I have based on the current climate of certain lanes of film criticism I'm seeing). There's a place for fun-intense-mid level action movies.

The Bourne Ultimatum /

The plot to Extraction is simple. A grizzled semi-retired for-hire mercenary; “Tyler Rake” (Chris Hemsworth) is hired to retrieve the kidnapped son of a drug lord and, like always, things don't go as planned. Friends becomes enemies, enemies become friends and no one is to be trusted. Rake is eventually forced to go rogue in order to save the young boy.
But the basic plot, which is clear & concise as far as I’m concerned, is secondary to the fight & action choreography which was EXCELLENT in my opinion.

As I mentioned at the start of this piece, Extraction borrows from and travels down the same path as other action films like The Raid & John Wick...

John Wick 3 /

The Raid /

...recent James Bond films...

Skyfall /

Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography in Children Of Men...

Children Of Men / Extraction

Extraction may not be on the same level as some of the films it borrows from (subconsciously & intentionally), but it does deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. Also one thing this movie has going for it that other films don’t is a sequence of Hemsworth beating the shit out of young pre-teen would-be assassins which I find hilarious although I’m sure someone is bound to find/force a deeper unnecessary meaning behind that scene and the movie all together but I honestly don’t have the energy for that right. I’m not saying there aren’t deeper criticisms of Extraction (see everything from Sicario to Blackhawk Down) but I just want a well-crafted violent action movie.
This movie certainly fell short in a few places. There are some unanswered questions that never get resolved and there is a subplot that builds you up to think one thing is going to happen only to leave you painfully disappointed. But the overall experience is solid.

This movie also has heart. Midway in we get past some of Rake’s tough exterior and we see a bond form between him and the young boy he’s saving. And in my opinion, the real soul/story of Extraction is carried by the supporting character “Saju” (Randeep Hooda) who isn’t the one-note silent assassin that we’re led to believe he is at first. 

I enjoyed Extraction quite a bit. It isn't one of my favorite films of the year but it certainly served it's purpose (entertainment) and got me out of my cinematic contemplative funk brought on by movies that are my favorites of the year...


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