Extraction Netflix Movie Review, Extraction stars Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, and Randeep Hooda and was directed by Sam Hargrave in his directorial debut. Based on Ande Parks’ 2014 graphic novel Ciudad, Extraction tells the story of mercenary Tyler Rake, played by Chris Hemsworth, who’s hired to rescue the kidnapped son of a crime lord, while contending with a Bangladesh city on lockdown.
When you picture a straight-to-streaming action movie, what do you usually think of? Quick-cut editing where you can barely see the action? Iffy CGI? A dull, generic story you’ve seen a hundred times before? Maybe an older action star who’s past their prime? That’s what I usually think of with these types of movies too. So, even though the trailer for Extraction looked pretty good, I didn’t really expect all that much from it. And maybe it’s partly due to those lowered expectations, but this movie really surprised me. It might sound overly obvious, but with an action movie, you always go into it hoping the actual action’s gonna be good. Story and characters are nice, but with a movie like this, it’s the promise of great action that draws people in. And let me tell you, Extraction does not disappoint.
Even though it’s a Netflix-released medium-budget movie, it has the soul of an action blockbuster. It’s got far more in common with theatrically released action movies than it does with other direct-to-streaming or -video releases and I gotta say, I was really impressed with the action. You’re gonna hear this comparison a lot ñ from me and I’m sure from others ñ but this movie’s got a lot of John Wick influence. The plot and story execution are quite different, but the moments of action have that same realistic, visceral feel to them.
The action sequences are extremely entertaining, but they’re not shot in that over-the-top 80s action movie kinda way. It doesn’t feel like you’re watching movie action, so it has this different weight to it. Like I said, it’s entertaining and it’s fun to watch, but its brutality and intensity hit a little harder than you might expect in a movie like this. No pun intended.
The visceral quality of the action isn’t the only thing Extraction has in common with John Wick; it’s also got a similar shooting style. And I mean that in both senses of the word. This movie’s got a lot of guns. Some of the gunfights have that more-generic big, military siege shootout style to them, but there are a lot of close-quarter gunfights as well. And it’s those scenes in particular where the Wickian gun-fu influence really seeps in cause it becomes this combo of hand-to-hand combat, grappling holds, and, of course, guns.
The fight choreography’s pretty impressive and while it doesn’t have quite the smooth, almost gracefulness that we see with John Wick, the scrappy, rough-around-the-edges fighting style we’ve got here really works with the character of Tyler Rake. Plus, it’s mostly shot in pretty long takes, so you can actually see what’s happening and can also see the toll it takes on characters as they get progressively more injured over the course of the movie. Speaking of long takes, this movie’s got an 11-minute sequence at about the midpoint that I think people are gonna be talking about for a while.
It’s one of the more action intensive parts of the movie (which is saying something), but it’s shot as a single, long continuous take. And it’s not just a fight sequence in one location. It starts out as a car chase, then becomes a building raid, then a gun fight, a knife fight, a foot chase, and then another car chase. All in one continuous shot. Obviously it wasn’t all filmed in one shot, but the cuts are pretty seamless, mostly occurring during close-ups of a stationary object or in the motion blur of a quick pan. As was the case with 1917, you’re not even gonna notice them unless you’re really looking for them.
The action is clearly the highpoint of this movie and the big draw for most people, but I can’t say I was dissatisfied with the story. Yeah, it’s fairly generic and kind of derivative of a lot of different things you’ve seen before, but it’s really not bad. The story runs pretty predictably, but there are enough small, unexpected plot points to keep it interesting. That being said, this movie does make use of plenty of the classic genre tropes. We’ve got the shirt-removal-to-reveal-battle-scars moment, the painfully-set-a-broken-bone-in-the-field moment, and of course an emotionally-damaged tough guy character who has semi-frequent memory flashbacks of his former life.
The emotional stuff isn’t the greatest here, but again, it wasn’t bad. Certainly better than I anticipated going into this film. I definitely didn’t expect to be saying this, but I think Extraction is one of the better Netflix Original movies and possibly their best Original action movie. To be honest, with the way things are panning out this year with movies, I think Extraction might end up going down as having some of the best action sequences of 2020. So, put aside some of those preconceived notions about straight-to-streaming action movies cause I think this one might surprise you too. Alright, let’s talk about the pros and cons. Pro number one is gonna be pretty obvious: The Action.
I gotta say, I wasn’t really expecting all that much from this movie. I thought the action was gonna be about on par with other medium-budget streaming movies, but the action here was phenomenal.
The fight choreography was very Wickian. It was extremely entertaining, but also surprisingly real-feeling. I wouldn’t necessarily say realistic for this one, but it had an intense, visceral quality to it that helped it stand apart from most other action movies. It’s also got one very impressive extended continuous take sequence that people are gonna be talking about for a while.
The second pro is the cinematography. And let me tell you, I was definitely not expecting that from this movie either. The action in an action movie being a positive? Okay. But the cinematography in a straight-to-streaming action movie? Sounds crazy, but it’s really pretty good.
This is a nice-looking film with some really impressive camera-work. There’s some unexpectedly good framing of shots, especially early in the movie, that took me by surprise. For instance, there’s this shot of Ovi playing piano with a lot of reflections and one of Tyler framed in a doorway as a helicopter flies away. And then of course we’ve got the camera-work during the action scenes and especially during the impressive long-take sequence. On the con side, probably the biggest issue was how derivative the story felt.
Now I know the action genre isn’t exactly known for plot creativity, but this one, for some reason, just constantly reminded me of other movies and even some books. I imagine some of that’s due to the graphic novel source material though, which was probably influenced by a lot of those other stories, so it’s not that surprising to have some of those action tropes and story clich’s seep in. It never really took me out of the movie, so it’s not a huge negative or anything, but it was noticeable to me.
I’m gonna give Extraction 3.5 out of 5 paws. I figured this one was gonna be pretty entertaining, but I’m actually surprised by just how action-packed and gripping this story was. Not bad for a Netflix Original action movie. I would recommend Extraction to people who like big action movies.
This didn’t quite have the budget that we usually associate with action blockbusters, but it still really has that same feel. If you like intense fight sequences and especially hand-to-hand combat and close-quarters gunfights, you’re gonna love a good chunk of this movie. It’s definitely gonna stand as some of the best action we see in 2020. And the story’s surprisingly solid for a movie clearly intended to be an actioner, so as long as you’re not expecting anything overly deep character or plotwise, I think you’ll be satisfied.
If you liked Extraction, I’ve first gotta make the obvious recommendation that I’m sure everybody’s bringing up (and for good reason): John Wick. Really, any of the three Wick movies. Cause if it was the action choreography and fight sequences you liked here, then you’ll love John Wick. If you liked the general premise of a trained tough guy hired to save a kidnapped kid, then you might want to check out Man on Fire, specifically the 2004 remake with Denzel Washington.
That one isn’t quite as bombastic and exciting with its action, but there’s definitely a lot more emotion to that one, which makes it very satisfying. If you want another movie featuring a kidnapped kid and a bit more action, you’ll want to watch Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando. And if you’re not really interested in the kid subplot and just want to watch another big, brutal, over-the-top action-packed movie featuring a rescue, you’ll want to check out Rambo, the 4th movie in the Rambo franchise, though First Blood Part II and Rambo III might also be up your alley. Alright, a couple questions for you guys. Number one: Have you seen Extraction? If so, what’d you think of it? And number two: What’s your favorite action rescue movie?