EXTRACTION Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Alexander Wallace reviews the recent ultra-violent action film, Extraction.
Sometimes you just want an action movie; no frills, no bullshit, no attempt at some grand social statement. You just want to see people beating the shit out of each other, or expending so much lead you wonder if it depleted a mine somewhere. There’s something primordially satisfying about that; in Rome, they had gladiatorial fights where people actually died. Now, we spend large amounts of money to make it look like people are dying en masse. It’s one of those things that says something about us as a species, and I’m not sure it’s necessarily good.

But it does make for fun movies. Such is Extraction, a 2020 Netflix original film directed by Sam Hargrave and Joe Russo. The latter, as you may know, was one half of the directing team that brought us two great Captain America movies and two astounding Avengers movies. With Russo’s Marvel pedigree, it is no wonder that he got Chris Hemsworth to helm the film. Hemsworth is good at action roles; in addition to everybody’s favorite Norse God, he also did very well in 12 Strong.

In 12 Strong, Hemsworth played an American and did so well. Here, however, Hemsworth is allowed to be an Australian as he is in reality. His character, Tyler Rakes, is contacted while living in the Outback to take up a job to save Ovi (played by Rudraksh Jaiswal), the son of a crime boss, from a rival crime boss in Dhaka, the crowded capital city of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is not a country that many westerners think of much, if at all (I know some of its history and its bloody birth as an independent state in the 1970s). When you enter Dhaka with Tyler, you will be stunned that you could fit so many people into a single city. Consider this: Bangladesh is about as big in terms of area as England and Wales combined, but it has more people in it than Russia. The Dhaka you see is the sort of megacity that I was taught in my international security class in college that will be the battlefield for so many future conflicts: teeming with humanity and filled to the brim of places to hide. It’s a conventional force’s nightmare, and Tyler, a veteran of the Special Air Service Regiment (the Australian equivalent of the famed British Army special forces), has enough of a problem on his hands. The city of Dhaka takes center stage in this film, becoming a character in its own right, in particular during an impressive faux-single take car chase sequence.

Extraction resembles those coming wars in at least one way: it is absolutely brutal. This isn’t just violence; it’s ultraviolence. This is not a film that bowdlerizes anything, and it will probably scare children. Be warned.

The characters are somewhat generic but are played well. You spend most of your time with Tyler and Ovi, and the two actors play off each other well. You get a good supporting character in Nik Khan, played by Golshifteh Farahani. Fans of Stranger Things will be pleasantly surprised by the presence of a beloved actor from that show.

Overall, Extraction is a good, solid action movie. It doesn’t do much new with the genre, but it does so with gusto and competence. There are certainly worse movies to watch if you are in that sort of mood.

Alexander Wallace is an alternate historian, reader, and writer who moderates the Alternate History Online group on Facebook and the Alternate Timelines Forum on Proboards. He writes regularly for the Sea Lion Press blog and for NeverWas magazine, and also appears regularly on the Alternate History Show with Ben Kearns. He is a member of several alternate history fora under the name 'SpanishSpy.'

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