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On the one hand, Extraction is a very standard and almost retrograde film. It is a straightforward action movie, much like those of the 1980s and 90s that made performers like Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme stars, as established brawny beefcake Chris Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, an exceptionally talented ex-special forces operative (aren’t they all?) who is called in to perform, wouldn’t you know it, an extraction. Rake plunges into the dangerous world of Dhaka, Bangladesh, to rescue the son of a crime lord from another crime lord, takes on an entire army and seems to blow up half the city. It also plays to white saviour expectations as almost every person of colour Rake encounters is either a helpless victim or a violent criminal. We’ve pretty much seen all this before.
However, Extraction still manages to be a wildly entertaining ride, as stunt coordinator turned director Sam Hargrave embraces the action chase thriller wholeheartedly, and brings a genuine sense of punchy style and outright nastiness to the proceedings. Action films are often sanitised, but Extraction offers brutal violence, a sense of mental as well as physical anguish, and even consequence. Hargrave gives the film a relentless pace, director of photography Newton Thomas Sigel thrusting the viewer into the heart of the Dhaka streets and propelling the viewer through gunfights, car chases and intense physical altercations. This is best expressed in a blistering twelve minute long take along alley ways, up stairways and down walls, with enemies appearing at every turn and all manner of weapons coming into the fray. Think about Extraction and there are a lot of problems. Experience it and you’re in for a hell of a ride.