His role as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe turned Chris Hemsworth into one of the most instantly-recognizable actors in the world, but it would be fair to say his career hasn’t experienced that same kind of success when he’s ventured into new territory. His non-MCU output is largely littered with critical disappointments and box office bombs, leading many to harshly speculate that the God of Thunder is the only thing stopping him from sliding into virtual obscurity.
Well, Netflix’s Extraction dropped yesterday and sees the big Australian try his hand at playing a full-blown action hero for the first time, and the end result seems to have gone down pretty well with fans. Not a lot of dramatic heavy lifting is required in an adrenaline-fueled flick that charges from one set-piece to the next without stopping for breath, but writer and frequent Hemsworth collaborator Joe Russo believes that his work as Tyler Rake ranks as the best performance of his career, as he explained in a recent interview.
“Hemsworth is one of the great movie stars in the world right now. He has incredible charisma, and he has a really unique gift of expressing vulnerability in a way that invites you into the character, and makes you care about him and want to root for him no matter what he’s done. I think that was very important with this character. He’s also really committed on a physical level. It was certainly the hardest thing, I think, that, physically, Chris has done in his career. But I also think that this is his best performance.”
Hemsworth’s strengths have always been his charisma and comic timing, and with Extraction featuring little in the way of levity, his physicality was forced to come to the fore. Tyler Rake is hardly the most well-developed and rounded character that the genre’s ever seen, but the 36 year-old brings a lived-in quality to the role where you believe that he’s getting pretty tired of getting shot at, but he’s still going to get the job done regardless.
When you look at his filmography, Chris Hemsworth has only starred in nine movies in his entire career that weren’t either franchises, remakes or reboots of some description, and original projects like Extraction give him the opportunity to show what he’s capable of as a leading man when he isn’t supported by an established brand.