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Small Details You Missed In Extraction

If you're hankering for an extra dose of adrenaline to get you through the day, you could do worse than heeding the front page of your Netflix suggestions and tapping into the streamer's latest original action thriller, Extraction.

The film has generated a lot of buzz, both for its sheer entertainment value and its all-star cast on both sides of the camera. Extraction's plot follows black market mercenary Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) on his quest to retrieve Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the kidnapped son of an Indian drug lord. For most of the film, Rake is pursued by Saju (Bollywood's Randeep Hooda), another mercenary with a special ops pedigree, who matches Rake skill-for-skill. Believe us — it is one exciting ride. 

While fans are still at odds over the movie's intentionally ambiguous ending, there are plenty of other minor details worth dissecting that most viewers might have missed at first pass. It all amounts to a film that both meets and transcends the expectations of its genre, while offering enough buried meaning to merit a rewatch. With a film like Extraction, we'll likely be unpacking the minutiae for years to come, but here are a few of the Easter eggs that already stand out.

The makeup artist on Extraction tried to make Chris Hemsworth less handsome

Makeup artists are among the unsung heroes of movie production, and veteran face-painter Matteo Silvi had a heavy hand in crafting Hemsworth's grizzled look in Extraction. It's no easy task making a glistening Australian Adonis like Hemsworth look like more of a world-weary military specialist-turned-merc. 

Silvi told the Motion Picture Association's The Credits that he remembers getting the difficult charge from director Sam Hargrave. "He doesn't have to look so handsome," Hargrave told Silvi. Easier said than done. "We added dirt and blood and scars and Chris still looked amazing. He was better looking like that," Silvi said.

The addition of a few carefully-placed facial scars turned out to be the key to achieving the desired effect. Careful viewers may have noticed the painful markings on Hemsworth's typically unblemished visage. Silvi added three facial scars that are on display throughout the film — one across the bridge of his nose, and the other two on the side of his head. "The scars changed him a lot," observes Silvi. "It definitely made him look more rough and tough."

Silvi also threw in about ten false tattoos — including one on Hemsworth's chest that marks the loss of Rake's son, a crucial piece of his backstory — and the transformation was officially complete.

There's a reason Extraction's action scenes look like they were shot by a stuntman

Much of the power in Extraction's high-octane action sequences derives from the frenetic cinematography, defined by acrobatic shots and extended cuts. Wide angles, over-reliance on green screen, and frequent jump cuts can rob an action sequence of its energy, which is why Hargrave made a conscious creative decision to eschew these techniques in favor of live-action sequences shot from close angles using long, extended shots. Viewers who fancy themselves amateur cinematographers will likely have noticed this propensity in Hargrave's direction throughout the film. The thrilling result begs the question, however — how did he manage to get these shots?

Most of the time, Hargrave took matters into his own directorial hands. He batted cinematographers aside, grabbing the camera to jump into the fray with his actors and stuntmen. Hargrave is himself a former stuntman and stunt coordinator, so he was perfectly comfortable jumping off of buildings with a camera in his hand or tying himself to the hood of a speeding car so that he could capture an action sequence in its totality without an energy-sucking cut.

The final results speak for themselves.

Extraction is based on a graphic novel by Avengers: Endgame writer/director Joe Russo

If the story of Extraction seemed more nuanced and complex than what you usually expect from your standard action flick, it might be because the film's screenwriter, Avengers alum Joe Russo, adapted the screenplay from his own graphic novel.

Russo, his brother Anthony, their writing partner Ande Parks, and illustrator Fernando León González published Ciudad via indie comic publisher Oni Press back in 2014. The Avengers: Endgame scribe reportedly always wanted to bring his graphic novel to life on the silver screen, and it was actually his involvement in the film that helped land Chris Hemsworth for the leading role.

The story of Ciudad hews pretty close to the version we got on screen, with one notable exception: in the comic, Rake is after a kidnapped woman instead of a young man. The decision to swap the damsel-in-distress storyline for a more complex plot that sets up Ovi as a surrogate son to Rake was probably a sound one. Ovi is essential to completing Rake's character arc. Without him, Extraction really would be just another action flick.

Unfortunately, Ciudad is now out of print and copies can be pretty hard to come by. If you find one for a reasonable price, snatch it up quick. A careful read might point you toward some other interesting details in the film that haven't yet been brought to light.