| February 28, 2016

When I got in my review copy of Extraction, I asked my dad if he wanted to watch it with me.  He told me that he had already tried to watch it once but turned it off after the opening scene, which is saying something because my dad will literally watch anything start to finish as long as he doesn’t have to pay for it.  Anyway, he agreed to watch it with me, and after the opening scene – an interrogation of Bruce Willis’s character by terrorists – I didn’t think it was all that bad.  I more just thought it was Bruce Willis trying to jumpstart a new action franchise more in the vein of James Bond than John Maclaine.

The story is simple enough.  In fact, it’s too simple.  Willis plays an former CIA operative who is kidnapped by terrorists and when the CIA refuses to mount a rescue mission because it might jeopardize their ability to take down the entire organization, Willis’s son Harry (Kellan Lutz; Twilight) takes it upon himself to go rogue, defy orders, and get his father back.  He enlists the help of Victoria (Gina Carano; Deadpool), who does more flirting and standing around looking sexy than actual helping.

It’s not that Extraction is badly put together, or badly acted.  It’s just unremarkable.  There’s nothing about it that makes it stand out from the slew of action movies we get every year.  No hook.  No twist.  Nothing unconventional.  It’s bound to a formula, and a series of scenes that the filmmakers thought would look cool rather than thinking at all if they made any sense.  That’s pretty boring to me.  On top of that, what the filmmakers think will be cool and what I think is cool in an action movie are not the same thing.  While they’re looking for excuses to make Gina Carano kiss another girl, I’m wondering why Harry isn’t interrogating someone with a sledge hammer.

I can’t figure out why Bruce Willis is in this.  I’ve always liked him, even when stories about him being a nightmare to work with start to emerge in the past few years.  He makes fun, interesting movies, where he seems perfectly willing to do a lot of weird, embarrassing stuff, but lately it feels like he just wants to walk onto a set for a few days, give his best impersonation of himself in Die Hard and cash his check.  I’m not sure what happened to make him lose all interest in being a beloved, respected actor, but I don’t know how many more of these I can sit through on his name alone.  Eventually, he’ll go the way of Tom Cruise, where I only watch his movies if someone I know and trust tells me how good it is.

About the Author:

Joe Ketchum Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
Filed in: Video and DVD

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