By Heinrich Domingo
Insecure films are easy to spot. They try to be everything all at once, and in the process, gets confused on what they really want to be. Extraction is this kind of film. It tries too hard to inject love, deceit, father-son relationship, betrayal, insurgence, and many others in a frail action tale. In the end, its plot holes gushes out of the movie’s weak spots revealing a story that is unwary of its intentions and unsure of its treatment.
This film tells the story of how Harry Turner (played by Kellan Lutz) tries to save his captured CIA agent father played by Bruce Willis. Without official designation as a government agent, he insisted of finding his dad and eventually came across with a CIA agent ex-girlfriend (played by Gina Carona). As Turner discovers the location of the hostage takers, he unravels a truth about the past he tried very hard to overcome.
While a plot involving CIA agents’ insubordination is potentially refreshing, the film convoluted multiple elements in the bid to gain approval from the audience. The inclusion of romance seemed awkward because it was not integral in the storyline. Throughout the movie, cinemagoers are in constant bafflement on how to tie together stories of vengeance against a wife’s killer, son vying for father’s approval, and agent’s betrayal to his country. All these seemed to be separate plots joined together in the hope of catering all the whims of the public.
The film’s plot twist might have salvaged the story. But with further inconsistency and failure to provide enough contexts of the characters’ actions, the movie ended with more puzzles than answers. Why would a trusted character (played by D. B. Sweeney) turn into an enemy? What actions did CIA took with the entire fiasco? Why would Harry continue to believe in an organization which he saw to be flawed?
Furthermore, the movie prides itself belonging to the action and thriller genre. Yet, Extraction brings insufficient fight scenes and zero excitement. Simply, cinema cannot stomach this marred piece.
It is saddening though that as the movie attempts to please the crowd, it does the opposite. Succumbing to audience’s demand for action-packed, breathless, and ‘complete’ story led to the film’s demise. Hence, it is important for films like Extraction, to first work on the strength of their plot, proceed with casting superb cast, and go for outstanding cinematography. There are no shortcuts in achieving great films. And in the case of Extraction, no amount of unnecessary subplots could salvage a frail action tale.