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  • Writer's pictureSeth Greenberg

Netflix's Extraction: Reminiscent of a Video Game

Updated: May 13, 2020

Netflix recently released one of its most anticipated movies of the year. Written by Joe Russo and directed by Sam Hargrave, Extraction displays 116 minutes of aggressive violence, quarrels, and total restlessness. Chris Hemsworth plays the main protagonist, Tyler Rake, who throughout the film represents absolute courage and strength. The film takes place in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, where Tyler Rake is hired to "extract" an imprisoned drug lord's son who was kidnapped and held for ransom. While watching Extraction, Hargrave's unique cinematography and formatting of the film's storyline led me to an odd parallel... Extraction has a close resemblance of modern, first-person shooter video games.

Throughout Extraction, Tyler Rake endures non-stop scenes of grueling physical conflict. To put this into perspective, Rake kills 183 men in one scene! In a recent interview with CinemaBlend, Hemsworth described the exhausting filming schedule, saying that "everyday we were shooting one scene, we’d be rehearsing the next fight scene that was the following day. So it didn’t really stop and it was a three-month shoot basically kind of running and sprinting and fighting the whole time. Exhausting but rewarding, because I think that we achieved some unique special stunt experiences that I’ve certainly never been apart of and haven’t seen in a while" (Quote from Cinema Blend). A unique experience and film indeed. From my perspective, I saw that the film included different levels of increasingly difficult challenges/tasks for main character Tyler Rake. Similar to a first-person shooter video gamer, Rake had to complete various tasks: kill the security surrounding the compound housing the kidnapped son, extract the kidnapped son, find shelter in the Dhaka, find a way to exit Dhaka even though all exits were blocked off, and fight the final security detail on a bridge (final scene). This type of formatting of the film's storyline held a close resemblance to the formatting of various challenges in a first-person shooter video game. In addition to this, Hargrave shot the film through unique perspectives and viewpoints. In multiple scenes, Hargrave used a low and unusual perspective. This particular scene portrayed protagonist Rake and the "extracted" son Ovi running through a building and down and up stairwells. The camera was always placed in front of the two characters at a low viewpoint. Placing the camera in the front of, as well as at a low viewpoint, in respect to the characters gave me the reference of a first-person shooter game. In my belief, the unique placement of cameras in this particular scene allows Hargrave to give his audience the perception of moving joy-con controllers to change character perspectives and visuals in a first-person shooter game.

-Seth Greenberg

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