Review: Extraction

Last Updated on August 5, 2021


PLOT: When a veteran CIA agent (Bruce Willis) is taken prisoner on a mission, his case officer son (Kellan Lutz) mounts an off-the-books rescue attempt with his ex-flame (Gina Carano) in-tow.

REVIEW: Call me crazy or least very naive, but I actually had a decent amount of hope for EXTRACTION. While the fact that it's another Emmett-Furla VOD by way of Lionsgate Premiere special, the fact that Stephen C. Miller – who directed a fun little horror movie a few years ago called UNDER THE BED – was on-board as a director made me hope that this would be at least a little above average. After all, Emmett-Furla, for all the junk they produce, often manage to get decent budgets thanks to pre-sales, so I figured if anyone could make a VOD-actioner like this worth watching a creative young director like Miller would be the one to do it.

Sadly, despite a few good moments EXTRACTION winds-up being just as bad as any of the other half-dozen shitty movies Bruce Willis has phoned-in over the last few years, only marginally better than THE PRINCE or VICE. Barely running eighty-two minutes (with a lengthy animated credits sequence), EXTRACTION feels like it was badly compromised somewhere mid-shoot. While the pre-credits sequence is moronic, with Willis getting angry with his teen-aged son for not being able to shoot a terrorist who's broken into their home (and just killed his mother), the first half-hour of EXTRACTION isn't half bad. Willis, who looks even more lackadaisical than usual is kidnapped pretty quickly, leaving Kellan Lutz to carry the movie – which is a good thing.

While not a great actor, Lutz is very fit and seems game to at least try and make the most out of what he's been given. The same seems to have been true for Miller, and while the usual Tony Scott-rip-off wraparound location shots are tacked-on along with some shaky cam editing, there are a few decent action sequences that get EXTRACTION off to a good start. Lutz excels at hand-to-hand stuff, and an early punch-up in an SUV is a downright good little action sequence. While the movie temporarily goes off the rails once Lutz threatens what must be the most naive bunch of movie bikers with a grenade, things improve when he's teamed with Carano. Like Lutz, Carano isn't much of a thespian but also like Lutz, she looks great and does action well.

Decent action scene number two comes when Lutz and Carano infiltrate a nightclub, with Lutz getting a good fight scene in a bathroom that's actually shot in long and medium shots rather than the typical hectic close-camera work that's been in vogue since the BOURNE's. At this point I thought EXTRACTION, despite some atrocious dialogue and a boring plot might actually prove to be fun as a straight-action flick.

Sadly, it feels almost like they ran out of money about forty-five minutes into the film, with the entire final third being set in a warehouse where Willis is being held captive. During his twenty-minutes or so of screen time (probably more than VICE and THE PRINCE put together) Willis seems incredibly bored and stiff, as if his scenes were shot in a day. With Willis, by neccesity, being part of the conclusion, EXTRACTION ends on a stunningly weak note, with no major action sequence to wrap-things up, only a bunch of predictable last-minute double-crosses and a lacklustre mini-shoot-out that's over before it begins. It was all clearly shot quickly to favor their slumming star.

Lutz and Carano are betrayed in that neither gets to do anything really exciting in the last act, and in fact both characters – who have been our leads up to this point – are proven to be wildly incompetent, easily outwitted heroes. The last act is so poor that it makes everything that came before it a moot point, so even though Miller was able to craft two decent action sequences, the movie is un-salvagable.

While I admire that Miller at least tried to give EXTRACTION some energy early-on, this is clearly a paycheck gig for all involved, save for Lutz who really seems to be trying to turn himself into a decent action hero. With better material he could make it, but it's a shame as with some creativity these kind of VOD movies could be a good launching pad for him – if only they weren't stifled by being written around an actor who's clearly bored and just cashing (I assume) a large paycheck. In the end, one or two decent moments can't make EXTRACTION a worthy recommendation and it's very depressing to see so much potential in the way of Miller's talent behind the camera and Lutz and Carano's action chops being flushed down the toilet in a very unworthy vehicle.





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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.