WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Extraction, now streaming on Netflix.
In Netflix’s Extraction, star Chris Hemsworth puts the mighty hammer of Thor down and picks up an assault rifle for a much different kind of adventure. The action film is a dark, violent, and often shocking thrill-ride that doesn’t let up for a second. In the film, Hemsworth’s Tyler Rake is an Australian mercenary hired to retrieve a young boy named Ovi Mahajan from Dhaka, a city in Bangladesh. Ovi is the son of a powerful Indian crime lord, and his rival, Amir Asif, has kidnapped the boy for ransom.
Thanks to his team’s efforts, Tyler is quick to locate Ovi. But before they can get out of Dhaka, Asif puts the entire city on lockdown, with his thugs and even the police force hunting Tyler down. And, as Ovi and his rescuer attempt to escape the city alive, Extraction provides viewers with an epic tracking shot action sequence that lasts a whole twelve minutes.
Extraction’s best and most ambitious action sequence arrives in the film’s first half — at minute 34, to be exact. It begins shortly after Tyler has rescued Ovi from his kidnappers, and merely moments after Dhaka is put on lockdown. The action sequence begins with Tyler and Ovi on the run from Saju, the right-hand man of Ovi’s father. Saju also wants to rescue the boy, but Rake doesn’t exactly know that. Therefore, the two men fire bullets at each other, and Tyler goes on the run, trying to protect Ovi.
What then follows is a chase sequence that goes on uninterrupted for a dozen minutes. The camera follows the action closely, as Tyler hops aboard a vehicle to try and make his escape. This leads directly to the car chase. We see Tyler drive backward and forward, but that’s only the start. Eventually, he and Ovi get out of the car, and the chase continues on foot. The camera sometimes splits off from them to follow the point of view of those chasing them, and it eventually returns to Tyler, who shoots, stabs, punches, and even runs over his enemies, all while running from one point of the city to the next. And if all that weren’t enough, Tyler hops aboard a truck, to end the sequence on wheels once again before he crashes the vehicle in an explosive finale.
Throughout the entirety of this sequence, the camera doesn’t cut away once, creating a tracking shot sequence that ups the ante for this type of filmmaking. Over recent years, the single-take, tracking shot has become a staple of the action genre, from television shows like Daredevil and Arrow to big-screen films like the Oscar-winning 1917. In Extraction, the action sequence is proof of what must have been a demanding shoot where each actor, crew member, and performer delivered their all. After all, since the camera doesn’t cut away from the actors, there are no stunt doubles involved and very little breaks.
Extraction’s tracking shot is an achievement on its own, and it adds a whole lot of tension to the scene as Tyler attempts to escape the city alive. It creates a dual sense of excitement and dread, as the city itself appears to close in on Tyler and Ovi. There doesn’t seem to be any escape, and the camera’s unwillingness to cutaway is a perfect metaphor for their predicament. It’s one of those scenes that has one wondering how the cast and crew were ever able to pull off something like this.
Directed by Sam Hargrave and written by Joe Russo, Extraction stars Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Manoj Bajpayee, Randeep Hooda, Pankaj Tripathi, Derek Luke, Marc Donato and David Harbour. It is currently available on Netflix.
Chris Hemsworth’s new Netflix film, Extraction, delivers an epic, high-octane tracking shot action sequence that lasts 12 minutes.