Extraction Review The Buff and The Blazer
If you are a fan of the John Wick franchise for its masterfully crafted action sequences, then you would be intrigued by Sam Hargrave’s Extraction. The film features similar high-quality action pieces that are on par with John Wick. Furthermore, aside from being a highly entertaining action film, it also contains a dark, gritty, and dramatic realism that many action films lack. Sam Hargrave’s stunt background also helps push the pacing of the film and puts the heavy action front and center. It is as if the film drew from the best elements of Black Hawk Down and John Wick, to craft a film that is both captivating and powerful.
From producers Joe and Anthony Russo and starring Chris Hemsworth, Extraction seems rife for the superhero treatment. In some instances, the action feels that way. In many other ways, the film is far from a superhero popcorn flick. The action sequences always feel grounded and with high stakes. That is not to say that superhero films do not contain those elements, but the threat of death is always present in Extraction. At any moment, it feels like Tyler (Chris Hemsworth) or Saju (Randeep Hooda) could be killed. The film constantly keeps you on your toes.
The fight choreography in Extraction is high-octane and brutally blunt. What we mean here is that although there is an element of choreography, the fights also seem improvised. The improvisational feel adds to the sense of tension and uncertainty. Foes are brutally thrown headfirst into walls or corners and their bodies become limp after hyper-extending their necks or limbs. The cinematography of the fights also helps sell that ultra-realistic feel. The sequences are shot up close in the thick of the action. It feels as if you are in the fight with the characters.
Aside from the more personal hand-to-hand combat sequences, the film also contains some large-scale action centerpieces. Those sequences clearly show the benefits of having a director with a stunt background. The main car chase takes place within the chaotically populated city streets. Cars are driven through extremely small spaces and wrecked amidst all the human activity on the streets. Those shots feature masterful camera work with a first-person perspective visually reminiscent of a video game. Those main sequences are the centerpieces of the story arc. With the action front and center with quieter scenes sprinkled throughout, the narrative feels fast-paced, without leaving the viewer fatigued.
In addition to the captivating action, the film does not shy away from depicting the harsh realities of militaristic violence. Scenes involving children wielding weapons after just witnessing a brutal display of violence are tragic. Furthermore, the film does a good job of emphasizing the cost of the characters’ actions and their repercussions. All these elements add substance to the story and keep it grounded to avoid the stereotypical “action” label. What we are left with is a story that is both captivating and meaningful. Sam Hargrave delivers on his first feature film.
Extraction is streaming on Netflix Now!
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