A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Extraction is a 2020 action movie that's based on a graphic novel and has Chris Hemsworth playing a mercenary sent to Bangladesh to rescue the son of a drug kingpin from another drug kingpin. This movie is extremely violent, and there are parts that feel more like a first-person shooter game than a movie with a storyline. A teen boy is shot in the head at point-blank range and falls down dead in front of his friends. Characters fight with everything from sniper and assault rifles to rocket launchers and swords, and there's a bloody scene in which a character is killed when his face is shoved through the tines of a rake. A teen boy is thrown off a building by the henchman of a drug kingpin. A teen boy trying to impress a drug kingpin cuts off one of his fingers and presents it to the kingpin wrapped in gauze. Characters fall off buildings and get hit by vehicles; blood and injuries are shown. Frequent profanity is heard, including "f--k" and "motherf----r." Teens smoke marijuana, and there's beer drinking and alcohol drinking.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In EXTRACTION, Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) is a mercenary living in the Australian Outback, drinking too much and trying to forget his past. When Ovi Mahajan Jr., teen son of imprisoned Indian drug kingpin Ovi Mahajan Sr. is kidnapped and held for ransom by Amir, the biggest drug lord in Bangladesh, Rake is offered the mission to rescue the teen and return him to safety. Desperate for money, and finding little worth living for, Rake accepts the mission and soon lands in Dhaka. After escaping a kidnap attempt by Amir's crew and then rescuing Ovi, Rake must fight against not only more of Amir's people, but also the police and military authorities paid off by Amir, and Ovi's former bodyguard, who might also be trying to steal Ovi from Rake in order to protect his own family. In the midst of this carnage, Rake begins to feel an unexpected paternal care for Ovi that extends beyond the mission, even when an old mercenary pal of Rake's tells him that they can kill Ovi and collect a $10 million reward. Now Rake must try to survive the consequences of his decision, and get Ovi to the extraction point to safety: a bridge between Bangladesh and India.
Is it any good?
While the one-take battle sequences are exciting and impressive, the overall story is a shopworn formula from beginning to end. The hero is both strong and silent, and he's also conflicted between the lucrative mission and the pangs of his conscience. Extraction tries to add a third dimension to this action hero (and with a name like "Tyler Rake," you know he's not going to be an insurance salesman in some suburb) through the untimely death of a young son, but it feels as forced and obligatory as scenes in which the bad guys are shown to be bad by throwing kids off of roofs. Overall, the movie feels more like a first-person shooter game than a movie, and even with the requisite plot twists and expected betrayals, what ultimately emerges is the constant barrage of urban warfare in a developing country.
The story is at its best in the chemistry between Hemsworth and Rudhraksh Jaiswal, who does an excellent job of playing a teen trying to live a normal life but caught in a traumatic situation due to circumstances far beyond his control. That said, even this chemistry, like every other plot point in the story, is overwhelmed by the bombastic violence. And the ending comes across as a cynical attempt to have it both ways with the audience. It's fine for action-movie escapist fare, but throughout, one gets the feeling that the movie wouldn't have been that much different if they had just dispensed with a story altogether.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about action movie violence. Was the violence in Extraction necessary for the story, or did it seem to overshadow the plot?
There are many action movies throughout movie history with lead characters who are "the strong, silent type" who find themselves conflicted between doing their job and listening to their conscience. What are some examples of movies like these, and how is this movie an example of the form?
This movie is based on a graphic novel. What do you think would be the challenges in adapting a graphic novel into a movie?
- On DVD or streaming: April 24, 2020
- Cast: Chris Hemsworth, David Harbour, Golshifteh Farahani
- Director: Sam Hargrave
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 116 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Strong bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use.
- Last updated: March 19, 2021
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