Much has been made of Extraction’s eleven-minute chase scene that feels like a single shot, and for good reason. It is as impressive a bit of fight choreography as you’ll find, with continuously clever use of camera movement to wring as much suspense as possible out of the action.
It isn’t surprising that debut director Sam Hargrave made this sequence the centerpiece of his first feature—as a former stuntman, the art of capturing fighting on film has been the bread and butter of his career. Hargrave has also moved into acting, and appears in front of the camera in Extraction as a sniper named G.
Hargrave’s biggest projects as a stunt designer came in the Marvel movie franchise, and so it makes sense that Hemsworth would be chosen as his leading man for this thriller. The actor and director have worked together for many years. When they first met, the professional stunt man was a little surprised Hemsworth, who practices Muay Thai, got the better of him in a friendly sparring session.
Hemsworth is certainly a believable action hero, and does a fine job of conveying his character’s damaged emotional state as well. It is a good thing the Aussie can act, as the script definitely isn’t interested in things like character development—there are way too many people to kill to waste screen time on that.
Set in India, Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, a former Australian Special Air Force Regiment soldier turned mercenary. When Ovi, the teenage son of a drug lord, is kidnapped by a rival gang, Rake takes on the job of extracting the boy from the enemy’s clutches. Also in the mix is the boy’s minder, Saju Rav, who is making his own effort to retrieve him after Ovi’s father threatened to kill Rav’s son.
Randeep Hooda plays Rav and does very good work with the role—his desire to protect his son and wife elevates the material. It is also intimated throughout—and eventually confirmed—that Rake’s own young son died several years prior. The theme of the father/son relationship is the emotional engine that drives the story, but make no mistake—the $65 million dollar budget was largely spent on fight scenes and blowing stuff up.
While the action and visuals are top notch and would have been well suited to the big screen, the sound design is annoyingly intrusive. It is as if someone in the foley studio was allowed to go ham on crushing fruits and vegetables and laying that sound over fistfights and knifings. It’s hard to imagine that someone being stabbed would be quite that loud.
The movie has received criticism for its white savior-esque plot and its level of violence. Much of the violence is reminiscent of a video game, but there are scenes involving child soldiers that a little bit tough to take. However, Extraction aims to please as a mile-a-minute shoot-em-up and in this succeeds, with some emotional punch to boot.
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