Movie Review: Extraction (2020)

Extraction (dir. Sam Hargrave, 2020) – Tyler Rake embarks on a mission to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned crime lord.


Meet black market mercenary Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth). The Australian has been sent to India to rescue a drug lord’s son Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), whom a rival linchpin has kidnapped for ransom.

It is supposed to be a simple extraction. The hero charges all guns blazing into the streets, forms an emotional bond with Ovi, and likely saves the day. But Tyler is not the only man in business. Unable to afford the ransom or the mercenary fees, Ovi’s father has also sent his own henchman Saju Rav (Randeep Hooda) to do the job himself.

The plot beckons questions. Why would Ovi readily follow a stranger with a murderous rage, instead of his own father’s partner? Why couldn’t Saju have done the job himself in the first place? How did a South Asian feud manage to implicate a mercenary from down under?

If the sequel doesn’t feature this team-up, why do we bother?

Granted it is clear that Extraction is gunning for a new heir to the thrones of John Rambo, McClane or Wick (oh God, it’s the first name, isn’t it?). And as with most of these movies, plot is secondary. But the sheer amount of double-crossing and backstory quickly invites scrutiny that does not bode well for the weak ploy.

If the set-up feels too convoluted for its own good, the settings has its fair share of complications. Based on the graphic novel Ciudad by Joe Russo, the story had originally been set in South America. The movie not only shifts to the cities of Mumbai and Dhaka; the scenes were actually shot in Ahmedabad and Bangkok. And it shows. The generic backdrops of crowded streets could have been anywhere.

Save for the people and plateshots, there is no telling which part of Asia this could be. Much like its leading man, Bangladesh and India are missing their usual vibrant personalities. There are far better ways to portray Asia with cultural sensitivities, much like what Sense8 accomplishes beautifully. But while the locations went to waste, it does offer the opportunity for South Asian actors to take up roles beyond stereotypes.

A match for the mighty Thor.

Thankfully, Extraction has other neat tricks up its sleeves. It is at its best when Tyler Rake and Saju Rav both leap into overdrive. Director Sam Hargrave brings his Marvel stunt experience to the game, delivering a 12-minute tracking shot that barely leaves time to breathe.

Car chases, gun battles, and Bucky Barnes-worthy knife fights ensue. The handheld camera motions mostly tauten the tension, only inducing nausea in parts. The choreography is spectacular, even behind the scenes, as the daredevil filmmaker straps himself to a car to make all of it happen.

It is exceptionally violent too. And perhaps, all that is enough to keep the action hounds satiated. But when mercenary Tyler Rake picks up a gardening rake and slams the weapon of his namesake into an unnamed ruffian, I do wish this had been a different film. If Extraction had taken itself less seriously, at least we can all have a laugh.

A testosterone-fuelled vehicle that entertains but trips over its frills, Extraction is unlikely to join the halls of action fame.

18 thoughts on “Movie Review: Extraction (2020)

  1. About as well as I’d rate the movie too. I actually fell asleep during the non-action scenes so I put it on again recently and was like, eh I’m good lol. Good on Netflix for releasing all the behind the scenes footage because seeing Hargrave strapped to the hood of a car made me check it out immediately. Yeah, the camera work was nausea-inducing at times, but man I respect the guts.

    I wonder how this movie would’ve fared without Hemsworth or Joe Russo’s name attached, and if it would’ve gotten made at all. I suppose it all worked out since there’s a sequel in development, though I’d need more than name recognition to warrant another “Tyler Rake adventure.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! This is one of those rare instances, where the behind-the-scenes are way more entertaining than the film itself. Mad dedication. Still, I’m actually surprised that a sequel is in the talks at all. If there’s going to be a part 2 for such a mediocre effort like Extraction… what about Dredd and Wanted? 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RIGHT!?! What I’d give for a Dredd sequel omg 😢

        I might be scratching my head over an Extraction sequel, yet I can’t think of a better home than Netflix. Really the perfect place for the mediocre action flicks that would otherwise be released wide in January or August. It’s most likely an excuse to bring another Marvel brethren into the mix. I’ll hate myself, but depending on who it is I just might be interested 👀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You did a wonderful job at reviewing this movie.

    I actually enjoyed the movie myself it was done well. I too, like you – see where the flaws of this movie take shape and the Asian culture how its being stereotyped.

    The scene with the one shot of them running away and Tyler Rake character shooting away and the camera following was intense and adrenaline rush. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Charlie! I do think the movie has its merits, action-wise. But the stereotypes were rather off-putting. Here’s hoping that Asian countries would be better represented in Hollywood, given the proliferation of successful filmmakers from the region.


  3. Excellent explanation of the movie and why you rated it so terribly. I enjoyed the movie so I am in disagreement with your score but the thing is, you are 100% correct and gave it what it deserves ha! Another way to say that is I liked the movie but it just… wasn’t… really… good. A lot of the questions you asked about the plot, we were asking too, and it just didn’t make sense. Also, there’s a difficult balance to strike when the main character is an antihero, especially a murderous antihero. Maybe for some him doing right for the kid was enough to make him likable but for me it just didn’t get there. And spoiler: The woman helping him, she got on board with it too, after having no contact with the kid that would give her an emotional attachment? Didn’t seem realistic at all. But at the end of the night, that 12 minutes made it all worthwhile. That was awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I guess I’d expected more from the guys behind Winter Soldier; it’s still one of my all-time favourite action movies with a solid plot to boot. And you’re right about Nik. There was no depth to her character throughout the movie. Even her “heroism” at the end felt too little, too late. I’m really glad for the cool tracking shot and choreography otherwise. At least, it didn’t feel like a total waste of time. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Interesting…not bad. I haven’t been watching any movies, my 13 year old daughter and I are watching Heroes. She’s never seen it and I figured she’d like it and she does.

            Liked by 1 person

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