Thursday, May 7, 2020

Review: "Extraction" sets a new standard for the Netflix action movie

Extraction Review
Over just a couple of short years, Netflix is changing the game on how media is digested. It has come a long way from a company that would mail you DVD's to watch and pretty much single-handedly put video rental stores out of business. Now they have dominated the streaming service industry and are greenlighting TV shows and movies like a pack of mad dogs. Seemingly still turning a profit like nobody's business. They've got their hands on Award hopefuls these passed couple years; in the form of "Roma" and "The Irishman." Now, they may just make the splash into blockbusters-at-home filmmaking they are so desperately trying to achieve.

"Extraction," is a kick-ass action movie vehicle. It's a great display for Chris Hemsworth to go bare-knuckle in action hero persona. This is some of the most pulse-pounding action I've seen in a movie in quite awhile. Written by Joe Russo, one of the braintrust behind several MCU movies, including "Captain America: Civil War" and "Avengers: Infinity War," he has said in interviews that he and his brother love intense storytelling. Well, that's pretty clear here with "Extraction." This is an action movie that will make you feel sore after watching.

The set-up is pretty simple. Ovi Mahajan jr. (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) is a normal kid living in Bangladesh. Well, at least he tries to be normal. It's not easy living a normal life when you are the son of an international crime lord. He is forced to come home immediately after school every day. No hanging out with friends or leading anything like a normal life for a teenager. Fighting for a normal life, he sneaks out to hang with his friends, suddenly one night he is taken by a rival gang against his father. His father (Pankaj Tripathi) wants his head of security Sanju (Randeep Hooda) to hire whomever he has to in order to get his son back.

Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) is a black-market mercenary. He has bad visions of a family he no longer has and he's the mercenary who is constantly trying to kill himself. When he and his team are hired by Sanju to extract Ovi, he jumps at the chance. At first, its looking easy for Rake and his team. But as Rake sees really how far over his head he is, and the twists and turns that lay ahead, makes the mission much more dangerous.

Sure, there's some standard action movie cliches thrown in here. Rake's past seems to be catching up with him throughout the mission. Ovi reminds him of somebody he lost. Rake tries to get help from a friend who betrays him. Ovi and Rake begin to share a friendly bond with each other. There are story points that are familiar, but he storytelling is tight and keeps you biting your fingernails. The acting is about as good as it gets in action pictures, with actors doing better than they really had to. I don't know when Hemsworth is planning on being done with Thor, but its pretty evident here that he has carved a career for himself, and he's going to be just fine.

There are already plans for a sequel, and this looks like a better match for Netflix than "Bright." This is a much easier movie for audiences to get behind. A classic shoot 'em up instead of something higher concept. This could be a nice vehicle for Hemsworth and could allow Netflix to keep evolving what streaming services can do. "Extraction" doesn't revitalized the genre, but it is a kick-ass ride, and during the quarantine, perhaps that's exactly what you need.

FINAL GRADE: B+

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