This time of year, Fridays usually bring us a new blockbuster to devour at the local movie theater. But with the whole COVID-19 pandemic putting a damper on things by forcing cinemas to close, we’re now entertaining ourselves at home.
We kind of got our wish this week though in terms of seeing a new action movie. Chris Hemsworth’s Extraction landed on Netflix and to say there’s a high body count would be an understatement. But that was the intention of writer Joe Russo, who felt the story deserved a large amount of kills to heighten the urgency.
“For us, it’s certainly a hyper adrenalized story. And that’s what we liked. We wanted something super aggressive. It’s about a corrupt patriarchy and this damaged character. And so we really wanted to put him in a pressure cooker, an intense situation and a heightened level of action. Everyone keeps track [of a movie’s body count]. I think there was something called The Carnage Document that they would [use to] keep track of everything that happened in the film. I can’t remember who was keeping track of it, or where it went, but I know it came across in my emails at one point.”
The action scenes and headshots in Extraction rival John Wick. In fact, one particular scene is made to look like an unbroken 12-minute shot of Hemsworth’s Tyler Rake being pursued by soldiers, cops and a fellow mercenary. The camera follows Rake and Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) as they dodge bullets, jump from rooftop to rooftop and fight off countless enemies. It’s a spectacular set piece that’s worth the price of admission alone.
That makes sense, too, as the pic comes from first-time director Sam Hargrave, who’s been a stunt coordinator for many years before graduating to second-unit director on the Russo brothers’ last two Avengers movies and then finally getting his shot as director. And while the story may be paper thin, Hargrave clearly knows what kind of film this is and the results are impressive.
Of course, it should come as no surprise that a former stuntman is turning into a capable director. Just ask Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. They both had a similar background and have since parlayed all of that physical work into multiple successful action franchises, including John Wick, Deadpool and Hobbs & Shaw.
Extraction is just the sort of escapist fun we could use right about now, too, and is a well-made vehicle for Hemsworth, who’s more than capable of performing the majority of the stunts in addition to carrying the heavy burden of a lost child. Not to mention that the Internet appears to be loving the film as well.