Extraction (2020)

Posted in Reviews by - April 25, 2020
Extraction (2020)

Taut, ambitious and exciting directorial debut from Atomic BlondeCaptain America and Wolf Warrior II stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, who throws just about everything into the mix: car chases and crashes to gun fu, sniper battles, exploding helicopters, knife fights, pile-ups and shoot-outs, with most of it performed in-camera and shot on location in the vivid, hectic urban sprawl of Dhaka. Hargrave is seemingly following the same career trajectory as fellow former stunt performers Chad Stahelski and David Leitch (founders of 87eleven Action Design), and although this film shares their realistic and grounded approach to action, this isn’t simply John Wick Goes to Bangladesh. Chris Hemsworth is in his comfort zone as grizzled, nihilistic serviceman-turned-mercenary Tyler Rake – a hunky, haunted, hard-boozing Australian who essentially lives like a tramp in a chicken shack but could still kill you with his bare hands. He is called upon to rescue the kidnapped son of an Indian drug lord from a Bangladeshi crime tsar, who seems to have most of the city in his pocket, from the poor street kids to the military. Under his command, he puts all of Dhaka on lockdown to smoke out Tyler and the boy. It’s at this point you wonder how the Dhaka tourist board might feel about the movie; it looks like one of the most dangerous and corrupt places on the planet. Once Tyler has the child under his protection, the two form a bond not too dissimilar from the central relationship at the heart of Terminator 2, with Tyler acting as both bodyguard and surrogate father. Hemsworth clearly enjoys throwing himself into the majority of the exhaustive, bone-crunching action – a world away from the green screens and CGI landscapes of his Marvel work. There’s nowhere to hide from Hargrave’s roving, intimate camera, particularly during a wonderful 11-minute ‘one-take’ sequence in which he seems determined to top his incredible ‘one-take’ sequence from Atomic Blonde. It certainly comes close; blending moments of dialogue with car stunts, high falls, fights and explosions. For a debut feature, it’s bold, creative, muscular and assured, and cements Hargrave as one of our best action filmmakers.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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