Extraction (2015)

(2015)- * *

Directed by: Steven C. Miller

Starring: Bruce Willis, Kellan Lutz, Steve Coulter, D.B. Sweeney, Lydia Hull, and Gina Carano

CIA agent Leonard Turner (Willis) is "The Best", so naturally his son Harry (Lutz) wants to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately for him, his boss Robertson (Sweeney), keeps turning him down for that darn promotion he's seeking. While working in Prague, Harry receives word that his father, and a sensitive and dangerous piece of technology known as CONDOR have both disappeared. Seeing his chance not just to rescue his beloved dad, but to prove his worth with The Agency, Harry goes rogue and heads to Newark, New Jersey, where the action is. While there, he teams up with co-worker/old flame Victoria Phair (Carano). Will dad and/or CONDOR be saved? Will certain secrets be revealed? And will someone or something receive some sort of EXTRACTION?

Extraction starts off promisingly enough, with a genuinely cool opening credits sequence that's worthy of any Bond film. The synthy score behind it by Ryan Dodson just amps up the excitement, and you think, "Hey, this may be a modern-day DTV outing, but maybe the quality is high enough so that it would have gone to the theater if it came out 15 years ago", or some such thing.

Unfortunately, it's not long after that when we see how Extraction hits some serious pitfalls and then can't get out of its own way. Our initial hopes were dashed, and we began to sink lower in our seats, when we saw that this is yet another one of those "Dark" movies, where much-needed lights were not turned on. Strike one. Then we, as the audience, have to suffer through some really annoying characters such as Sitterson (Coulter) (If you don't watch this with the subtitles, it sounds like everyone calls him "Citizen"). Evidently his dialogue was supposed to be "Cool & Edgy", but it just comes off as juvenile and dumb. (There's yet more misheard dialogue later as people talk about something called the Patriarch Key, which naturally sounds like "The Patriarchy" when people say it. Seems like the writers should have thought of that. It turns something that's already silly into something even sillier). Then we have Victoria's friend Kris (Hull), whose "airhead" character grates on your nerves. Strike Two.

From there on out, it's just unimaginative cliche after unimaginative cliche as barfights, training sequences, tired CIA blah-blah, escape scenes and even fight scenes go exactly the route you think they're going to, with zero suspense or surprises. Strike three.

How things could have been improved: Stop with the quick-cut-style fight scenes and let Gina Carano do what she does best. Let her fight scenes play out with more lighting and less cuts. Get rid of the annoying characters and dialogue, and turn on some damn lights. Come up with some relatively novel places for the plot to go, and, if time allows, embrace the idea of character development.

As far as the Brucester is concerned, it's clear his heart wasn't in this one (and who can blame him; although he was probably paid a pretty penny, so he should at least attempt to do his job and act like he cares), and evidently all his scenes were shot in one day. Director Steven C. Miller worked again with Bruce the next year for Marauders (2016), a better film and an improvement over Extraction. If you must see one Miller/Willis team-up, see Marauders.

Not to be confused with Extraction (2013) or Extraction (2020) - just showing the lack of creativity on display here - this particular Extraction gets off to a fine start, but ultimately disappoints. The cast deserves better, especially fan favorite Carano, who was not properly unleashed. On the up side, it's a mere 79 minutes before the ending credits. But, then again, it feels longer.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

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