‘Extraction’ Review: A muted Chris Hemsworth trades Mjölnir for a rifle in uninteresting shoot-em-up

This review was first published on KENS5.com and can be viewed here. 

 

We’ve hardly seen the mighty Chris Hemsworth as bruised and bloody as he appears in Netflix’s new action extravaganza “Extraction”—that includes his bouts against the dreaded Thanos himself. And yet, Hemsworth – sporting his natural Melbourne accent – rarely feels like less than a superhero even here as he trades in the billowing cape for bullet-proof vest, Mjolnir for the assault rifle.

His name in “Extraction” is Tyler Rake. Occupation: Mercenary. Hobbies: Popping pills and jumping off sky-high cliffs into the water to quiet whispers of pained pasts. If you thought the movie’s overarching narrative linking this humdrum actioneer’s opening credits to the first of its endless shootouts would be less blunt, think again; within about 10 minutes we seen Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), son to an imprisoned Indian drug lord, kidnapped by a rival psychopath (sporting a pristine suit, of course) and put up for ransom. Promptly entering the other corner of the proverbial ring is Tyler, suited up and hired to…well…I’ll refer back to the title. And, dropped into a version of Bangladesh that “Extraction” makes look like Mars, Tyler lets it rip.

The mayhem is crisp and coherent (I suppose the expertly-maximized gruesomeness of select human disposals is as good a barometer as anything), and it comes courtesy of Sam Hargrave. He’s a veteran stunt coordinator and fellow Marvel alum embarking on his first feature directorial effort, a la “John Wick’s” Chad Stahelski, and his storytelling motivations align almost perfectly with his fist-throwing ones. Bullets fly. Blood spurts. Bones break, occasionally a little louder than we might expect. And, every now and again, a household object comically devolves into an improvised murder weapon. Continue reading →

Review: Marvel pokes fun at itself with ‘Thor: Ragnarok,’ and has a blast doing it

It’s about time we got something like “Thor: Ragnarok.”

After nearly a dozen years of spinning an increasingly complex web of Marvel stories and characters, the studio realized a need for giving audiences something new and invigorating; something to keep the spark alive, if you will. And they picked the perfect franchise to do it.

With “Ragnarok,” one of the MCU’s least consequential (and – let’s face it – one of its least interesting) franchises doesn’t just get a facelift; it’s infused with a new energy. With the third solo entry for Thor – “solo” becoming more and more ambiguous the further along the MCU machine churns –  he’s officially the ugly girl you initially passed up on who went on to become a runway model. Continue reading →