“No matter how badass you are,” says a sage baddie in Extraction, “there’s always a bigger badass than you.” That’s sadly true for Chris Hemsworth’s Tyler Rake, whose shooty exploits beg comparison with the likes of Jason Bourne and John Wick, only to be outgunned.
Like the aforementioned, Rake’s a man of few words but multiple kill-skills, a black-market mercenary tearing up Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on a contract to save a crime lord’s kidnapped son (Rudraksh Jaiswal’s Ovi). No, the mission is not what it seems. Yes, there will be bonding. Alas, efforts to fuse Rake’s tragic past and Ovi’s apparently hopeless present into a redemptive arc are grounded in cliché, Joe Russo’s script falling short of its emotional target weight.
With both Russos on board as producers, first-time directorial duties fall to their regular MCU collaborator Sam Hargrave. There’s little the seasoned stunt coordinator can do to build Rake’s quirks – the name for the one thing; meditating at the bottom of lakes for another – into the next great action antihero. But as you’d hope, Hargrave comes into his own with the set-pieces.
While the climactic bridge battle will sate fans of explosions (it’s the type of film where everyone has a rocket launcher in their car boot) and splatty sound FX, the showstopper comes earlier: a turbo-charged, barrels-blazing, fists-flying pursuit that whips us in and out of cars in one impossibly long take. However much digi-gery-pokery was involved, the effect is vividly, vehicularly real. Odd moments linger elsewhere – David Harbour’s lairy cameo, some eye-watering self-surgery – but those minutes of mayhem are Extraction’s main takeaway.