Courtesy of Netflix
Folks all caught up on “Tiger King” or feeling the void of no sports or big-budget tentpoles could find solace with Chris Hemsworth’s macho-action flick “Extraction,” a throwback to the Steven Seagull and Sylvester Stallone 80s’ mercenary pictures. Stallone he is not, but Hemsworth has tried to break out of his “Thor” mold with non-franchise starters “Men In Black: International” and “12 Strong. I’d argue that, aside from Ron Howard’s “Rush,” the Joe Russo written “Extraction” has given Hemsworth the best use of his range to date: including commendable hand-to-hand combat sequences that director Sam Hargrave (a stuntman himself) certainly knows how to handle.
The big strapping Aussie has proven his worth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and like his Avenger companion Chris Evans, is dipping his toes in the Netflix cannon. Sadly, for Evans, “The Red Sea Diving Resort” was a blatant misfire that lacked punch or tension. In “Extraction” Hemsworth is right in his wheelhouse playing a special-ops agent whose specialty is rescuing hostages in next-to-impossible scenarios. He also comes with some baggage, a drunk whose marriage ended with a tragedy and is trying to make peace with his grievances. Sort of.
The latest job involves the rescue of Ovi Mahajan (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) – the son of an imprisoned international crime lord. Hired by an unknown source, Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) is sent in to an impoverished Bangladesh community to extract the kid, but of course – in true black market mercenary fashion – the plan goes haywire, people are double crossed, the team sit in front of computer screens yelling they’ve been tricked, and Hemsworth manhandles a group of street thugs and dubs them “The Goonies from hell. ”
“Extraction” offers minimal in the scale of character development and it tries to produce a convincing father figure like relationship between Tyler and Ovi, except it ends up feeling forced. Then “Stranger Things” own David Harbor shows up for no other reason than Netflix made it a stipulation in his contract (seriously, his pedigree in this film isn’t needed, but we’ll take it I guess?)
What matters is the firefights and car chases that transpire over the mindless two-hour runtime, which during a lockdown is exactly what audiences will be looking for anyway. If business was usual and we were going to movies regularly with big-budget blockbuster in hand, it’s tough to gauge where “Extraction” would fall on the spectrum considering there are numerous digital shots that look hastily put together and the performances and narrative are, well, contrived. But for now, it’s what we have, and it will probably serve as the closest thing to a popcorn flick we’ll get for the next couple months.
EXTRACTION will stream on Netflix starting Friday April 27th.