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’Extraction’ brings big action to the small screen

He plays one of the most recognisable action heroes on our big screen, now Australian actor Chris Hemsworth has turned to the small screen to deliver the film that may just launch another franchise. While the Netflix released Extraction may not be one the films that finds itself in the running for the one newly revamped Oscars it is one of the better action films to have surfaced over the past few years.

By David Griffiths

Sunday 17 May 2020, 11:00AM

Chris Hemsworth delivers in the Netflix-launched ’Extraction’, directed by Sam Hargrave. Photo: IMDB

Chris Hemsworth delivers in the Netflix-launched ’Extraction’, directed by Sam Hargrave. Photo: IMDB

Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, a psychologically and emotionally damaged Australian soldier who now heads up a covert mercenary team that also consists of Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani – Paterson), who seems to virtually run the team while Rake recovers from the last journey they have been on.

Rake finds himself thrown into the world of underworld crime though when he and his team are hired to rescue a young boy named Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal – The Tenant) who is the son of a jailed Indian gangster. However, when Rake and his team begin the rescue they realise that everything isn’t as it seemed and they are now the hunted – trapped in a situation where every move means they are closer to death. However Rake decides that he will see Ovi get to safety no matter the cost or risk.

If you are looking for a film with a strong storyline then you should really look elsewhere. The plot itself is pretty basic – in fact you can pretty much sum it up as Chris Hemsworth vs The Bad Guys – but having said that, this is a film where the thrill of watching it comes from the amazing action sequences delivered to screen by rookie feature film director Sam Hargrave.

Hargrave’s stunts are not simply ‘good’ stunts. They are pure cinematic masterpieces. Think of the stunts that you have seen in films like Mission Impossible and John Wick 3 and that is pretty much what you get from Extraction. Hargrave has worked on the stunt team for a tonne of Marvel films and here it feels like the reigns are thrown off and he gets the opportunity to experiment to his heart’s content. The result is a film that has its audience on the edge of their seat as it just bounces from action sequence to action sequence – the pinnacle being an 11-minute long sequence that just leaves you totally breathless. This is possibly the film that shows that Hargrave could well be one of the most exciting directors to hit the action genre in the past decade.

Unlike many action films that put stunts over plot Extraction does put a heavy emphasis on creating strong characterisation for its hero – Tyler Rake. Yes there are times in this movie where it seems the motivation behind Rake is to cause carnage and a body count wherever he goes, but there are moments in this film when you realise that the filmmakers are determined to explore his character a little more in depth. They might be few and far between but the film does explore the emotional scars that Rake covers – even down to the post traumatic stress that seems to have torn is life apart.

Extraction is the perfect cinematic vehicle for Chris Hemsworth. With his Thor character becoming more and more the comedic relief of the Marvel franchise it has become very easy to forget that under all that muscle (and the occasional fat suit) is a good actor. He is more than capable of mixing up action with acting ability. His performance in 2018’s 12 Strong saw him have to match the acting ability of Michael Shannon, something he did with complete ease. Here Hemsworth again gets the chance to show his acting ability as he goes into the inner darkness of Tyler Rake – a darkness brought about by family tragedy.

Extraction could well be one of the biggest sleeper hits of 2020. It certainly was not expected that a Netflix action film being released while the world was in lockdown would be one of the most exciting films of the year but that is exactly what has happened. With amazing action sequences that keep your eyes glued to the screen the only disappointing thing about Extraction is that we haven’t had the chance to see it on the big screen. If you love action films then you certainly don’t want to miss this one.

 4/5 Stars

David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus

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