Staying within the established lanes of its genre, playing every single scene by the books, and jam-packed with one cliché after another, Netflix’s Extraction does manage to impress in bits and pieces with its heightened moments of action and doesn’t hold back on violence n gore either. But its plot is way too generic, characters are thinly-sketched, dialogues pack zero emotional punch, and the film as a whole is unable to sustain its momentum to keep the viewers interested & invested in its premise, thus finishing as yet another run-of-the-mill action-thriller that’s forgotten as soon as the credits start rolling.
The story is set into motion when the young son of India’s biggest drug lord is kidnapped and held hostage by his main rival in Dhaka, Bangladesh. To rescue the child from one of the world’s most impenetrable cities, they hire the services of a black market mercenary who already harbors a death wish and has got nothing left to lose. As the operation gets underway, further complications arise when the crime lord’s chief henchman acts on his own accords to bring the boy back, thus making things worse for everyone. As the entire city goes on immediate lockdown, the deadly mission becomes near impossible.
Directed by Sam Hargrave in what’s his directorial debut, there is simply nothing about Extraction that stands out from the norm. Placing Chris Hemsworth in an international scenery that could do without him, the film employs the white-savior trope that stopped feeling fresh a long time ago, and it is far more predictable than one would care to admit. On top of that, a metropolis such as Dhaka is made to look like a squalid townscape, thus effectively failing to create a convincing environment it is supposed to function in. It is a small nitpick which can be brushed aside but the glaring shortcomings in the script are not.
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Joe Russo’s screenplay is more like a genre template that required more polishing in key areas before being green-lighted for production, for all Extraction has is a plot outline, weak structure, dull characterization & superficial interactions. Instead of sharpening the poorly scripted set of events to improve the groundwork and make the characters a tad more interesting, Hargrave attempts to mask the issues with his clever eye for thrilling & kinetic action set pieces. The gunfights & chases are thoroughly captivating, its R-rated carnage will please the fans too but whenever the story takes a breather, those dramatically bereft segments lay bare the utter brittleness of its foundations.
The action scenes are filmed in no-holds-barred fashion and exhibit tremendous fervor & intensity. There is a particular 12-minute action sequence that’s executed with sublime effectiveness from the stunt work team. Cinematography utilizes the overused warm, dry & tropical filter Hollywood tends to slap on every foreign location but the swift, frenetic camerawork does exude the required sense of chaos & immediacy during moments of action. Editing is not up to the mark at all, for its 117 mins runtime is longer than it needs to be, and there is a lot in the final print that the story could’ve done without. The pacing is all over the place, brisk at times, lethargic on other occasions. And Henry Jackman’s gritty score does what it’s supposed to.
Coming to the acting department, Extraction features a capable cast in Chris Hemsworth, Randeep Hooda, Priyanshu Painyuli, Golshifteh Farahani, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Pankaj Tripathi & David Harbour but only Hemsworth manages to hold his ground, that too due to his star power & magnetic on-screen flair. A high-caliber actor such as Farahani gets to play a role that’s no more than a mere spectator. The same goes for Tripathi whose presence is more a cameo. Hooda chips in with strong supporting work but his character is a mess. Jaiswal wanders aimlessly as the young boy who becomes a pawn in the war between notorious drug lords played by Painyuli & Tripathi. And Harbour shows up as a caricature who adds nothing to the experience.
On an overall scale, Extraction features enough dose of brutal, bloody & breakneck action to keep the casual viewers entertained, and most certainly benefits from Chris Hemsworth’s raw charisma but that’s not enough to elevate & place it amongst its genre’s better offerings. It is fun, thrilling & entertaining whenever the guns start blazing but thanks to the complete absence of any effort from the writer or director to make the drama or stakes any more exciting, unpredictable & compelling, the film settle for much less than what was up for grabs. Its only highlight is that one long single-take action sequence that’s orchestrated & choreographed with finesse. Other than that, there is nothing about Extraction that truly stands out. Despite the poor writing, lazy execution & mediocre storytelling, I did enjoy bits of what it had in store while it lasted. Not a total disaster but nonetheless forgettable.