DVD Review - Extraction

Director Steven C. Miller opens this movie with cinematography that is over-exposed or over-saturated and grainy. It's a bit of a rough or quite frankly an ugly effect. The remaining film possesses camerawork that is not all that flattering. It speaks possibly to a production that was rushed, as the DVD commentary confirms. For example, the top-billed star, Bruce Willis, is revealed to have only been available for one day. All of his scenes had to be filmed in one day. Thankfully, Willis is such a pro and makes his moments work, but more with him would have been appreciated and in Willis' absence the movie is not as strong as it could have been.

Kellan Lutz (Twilight and The Legend of Hercules) stars as Harry Turner, a member of the CIA who wants to be an in-field agent. He trains for such through gun practice and martial arts that military soldiers might do, as well as through exercising montages akin to Rocky (1976). It's funny because Lutz was featured with Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables 3 (2014), and Lutz could be a Stallone-type.

Former MMA fighter Gina Carano co-stars as Victoria Fair, a fellow CIA member who is called to assist in a mission basically to save the world. She happens to be an ex-girlfriend to Harry. The two end up working together and there's of course tension. Carano doesn't have much chemistry with Lutz, but she rarely has chemistry with any of her co-stars. She's mainly best used for her fighting skills, but Miller doesn't give her much to do in that regard either.

She was better used in Steven Soderbergh's Haywire, but she was the center and there was more fight scenes in that film. Plus, the way Soderbergh shot that movie emphasized and promoted the choreography. Miller shoots the scenes here more in the vein of The Bourne Identity, not as frenetic but still with quick cuts but that lessens the impact of the choreography.

Lutz gets about three fight scenes. He performs well in them. He can be an action star of the pure variety. This movie isn't of the pure variety though. It's not like Mad Max: Fury Road or even Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation that just moves from set-piece to set-piece. The screenplay by Max Adams and Umair Aleem attempts to balance heavy or quasi-complicated issues.

It tries to be a family drama with themes of revenge. It also juggles threats of nuclear attack. Even though it might not seem like a lot, but the running length is not enough. This movie is sadly too short. It needed more time to develop the issues and the characters.

This might be a spoiler... but Harry's mother is murdered and by the end he's forced to face his mother's killer. Harry is given the option to shoot his mother's killer who is unarmed, and he does it. Shooting an unarmed man rings so terribly and when it happens, there's no sense of moral ambiguity or internal struggle, or if there is, Lutz doesn't convey it all that well.

The basic premise is that Harry's father, Leonard, played by Willis, is kidnapped and held hostage. The film upfront feels like it could be a reverse version of Taken (2008). It doesn't quite end up being that. It has an interesting twist, but the film doesn't fulfill emotionally the consequences of that twist. Willis' final scene was just awkwardly handled as well that it didn't resonate what was happening.

One Star out of Five.
Rated R for violence, language throughout and brief sexual content/nudity.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 23 mins.


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