HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:66
DTV action movies are a staple of the straight to video market. They’re usually nothing to write home about, but they’re reasonably capable a good portion of the time and I’ve found some hidden gems among the wreckage. However, there are always those films that just can’t seem to get anything right and just fall into the forgotten realm of being completely uninteresting and boring. “Extraction” falls into that latter category as it checks off all the standard DTV checkboxes and manages to make a movie so dull and so boring that even I couldn’t find anything really redemptive. Even with lots of action and the inclusion of Bruce Willis and Gina Carano (who is as deadly as she is beautiful). I hesitated when I saw Kellan Lutz attached to the picture, but thought I’d give it a chance. Sadly Willis sleep walks his way through it, and Carano is sadly underutilized in the film. Kellan Lutz….Well… he’s Kellan Lutz. Meaning he’s stiff as a board and completely throwaway in every iteration of the word.
The formula is well trodden and so much so that you can pretty much dictate how the movie is going to unfold. 10 years ago, CIA special agent Leonard Turner (Bruce Willis) has his cover burned somehow and in the process his wife is murdered, leaving him with his teenage son. Back in the present, his son Harry (Kellan Lutz), has grown up and decided to go into the spy field as well. Joining the CIA he’s turned into a lethal killing machine, but is somehow stuck behind the desk as a tech operative while his field work requests are denied year after year. This is all a bit frustrating for the young agent, as he really wants to prove himself in the field, but today his luck changes. Leonard is captured on a super-secret assignment to protect the ultimate hacking tool. You know, those incredible government projects that can hack ANY device on a network and magically turn control over to the user. E.g. a tool that really is impossible to create if you know anything about technology and how it works.
Sidelined by his boss and family friend, Ken Robertson (D.B. Sweeney, most famous for “The Cutting Edge”), Harry is forced to take things into his own hands. Escaping from his handlers the unproven agent goes into the field for the first time, meeting up and joining forces with the agent in charge of getting his dad back. The thing is, this agent has some history with Harry as the two were lovers back in the field. Agent Victoria (Gina Carano) lets her feelings get the better of her and instead of turning Harry in to her superiors, allows him to continue his mission. However, things are never as they seem, with twists and turns that pit good guy against bad guy, then suddenly switching tables once more. Turning bad guys into good guys and vice versa. Then once again switching those roles up and putting them into a blender so you’re never sure exactly who to trust.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=65690[/img]It’s sad to see Bruce Willis decline so much over the last 7 or 8 years. Willis was once one of the highest paid action stars on the market. He was the legend of Nakatomi Plaza and was one of the most charismatic action stars out there, with his distinct laugh and a sense of sarcastic humor that endeared him to people the world over. Lately he literally has given up trying even in the slightest. Content to just sleep walk through his films on automatic pilot, his roles are relegated to DTV films that really amount to him spending 15-20 minutes in the actual actor’s seat. It’s the same thing every time. He spends the first 5 minutes of the movie playing a quiet but ticked off super bad mamba and then he goes into the background so a C level action hunk can do the lion’s share of the work. Then he comes back at the end and is either a bad guy or just manages to skate on by with his hero shtick until the credits role and he gets another couple months of rent money. I wouldn’t be so disappointed if it was with a lesser actor. Wanna be action stars and aging B listers are a dime a dozen, but it’s incredibly sad when a legend like Willis is content to just give the minimum amount of effort, letting all semblance of pride in one’s craft fall to the wayside.
Thankfully Lutz is a bit more animated as he does his best to actually be likeable and a completely smooth super-agent at the same time. D.B. Sweeney makes sure to let the audience know that even though he’s never had any field word, Harry is certainly one of the best of the best of the best. Ala Steven Seagal. The hunky muscle bound “actor” (if you want to call it that) scowls his way through the movie, while kicking butt and taking names. Carano is ok, but the woman is HEAVILY underutilized in the film. She’s NOT a good actress, and is wooden as ever, but usually we’re willing to forgive those shortcomings when you see her tearing through baddies like tissue paper with her considerable real life MMA background. This time she only gets a few moments to shine and ends up being the damsel in distress, playing second fiddle to the all-powerful Harry (Lutz) and his newly found super duper agent skills. Even when we DO get to see her lay down the law the camera work is so shaky and obscured by a billion cuts per second that the results are rather disappointing.
Rated R for violence, language throughout and brief sexual content/nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=65698[/img]“Extraction” is shot digitally and definitely on a bit of a budget. Just like the movie, it ticks off all of the DTV stylistic checkboxes one by one. We have the shaky camera work to blur over fight scenes. The multiple camera filters to portray different scenes. In this case you see it shift from a green filter to a red/orange filter to a gold filter from scene to scene and even back to a fairly neutral look at times. Blacks are sadly a bit crushed and shows some digital noise throughout with some mild banding thrown in for good measure. Detail is pretty solid though, with the digital photography allowing the viewer to see quite a few little nuances. Faces look great, though the crushed blacks and a bit of softness from shooting on the cheap do keep it from being razor sharp. There’s nothing inherently WRON with the picture, besides the choice to shoot on fairly low end digital cameras in the night time WITH a lot of stylistic filters on the lens. It’s good, but never anything that is that great.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=65706[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is equally as impressive. Showing off lots and LOTS of aggression from the very get go. LFE is powerful and throbbing, adding lots of boom and panache to the action scenes. Dialog is always intelligible and despite a few parts of the track where vocals are a bit thin, it’s a nice experience. There’s a nice dynamic range with the track going from whisper quiet to explosively loud in the blink of an eye. Although the track is certainly LOUD, it feels very one notey (yes my own personal term right there) with a bloated feeling that acts like a bludgeoning device rather than fine-tuned audio precision. The surrounds are very similar with lots of activity in them, but never do they really separate into distinct noises.
• Commentary by Director Steven C. Miller and Actor Kellan Lutz
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• The Making of "Extraction"
• Cast/Crew Interviews
• Theatrical Trailer
“Extraction” feels VERY cookie cutter in just about every aspect of film making. There is the standard double and triple stabs in the back, the obligatory car chase. The standard sexual tension between the male and female lead, and lots of shakey camera work and split second cuts to simulate a fight scene instead of focusing in on the action. Really there is NOTHING new here and nothing really redeeming about the movie. It’s less that the movie did so much wrong, it’s just that it couldn’t seem to get any of the traditional clichés RIGHT. The audio is ok, the video is about the same and the extras are rather disappointing. I’m a fan of DTV action movies and really have some fun with a few of them, but this is just one of those films I’d recommend skipping unless you REALLY are bored.
Buy Extraction On Blu-ray at Amazon
Starring: Kellan Lutz, Bruce Willis, Gina Carano
Directed by: Steven C. Miller
Written by: Max Adams, Umair Aleem
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 83 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 23rd 2016
Recommendation: Skip It.
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