Film

Old­-School Brawler Flick ‘Extraction’ Is Tough but Undistinguished

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Nobody looks good in C-grade spy thriller Extraction, partly because the lighting in most scenes is either distractingly low or naturally overexposed. You can actually see what’s going on during the best action set pieces, particularly an impromptu brawl set in a well-lit public bathroom. But even that scene leaves you wishing that stars Kellan Lutz (the Twilight series, The Legend of Hercules) and Gina Carano (Haywire, American Gladiators) were convincingly brutal enough to carry the type of inanely vicious buddy flick that Carolco or Cannon Films cranked out thirty years ago.

Lutz plays Harry Turner, a generically rebellious CIA agent who must locate the terrorists who have kidnapped his father, Leonard (Bruce Willis), a formerly legendary spy, and stolen a dangerous telecom-hacking techno-whatsit. Harry pummels everyone, including mouthy bikers and tight-lipped heavies, in his quest for peace.

But Lutz never appears mad enough to sell scenes where his character bashes his way to answers. He glowers expressively when Harry stabs a suspect’s hand through a table and repeatedly fires a revolver at his captive’s head until it reaches the only bullet in the chamber. Despite his best efforts, Lutz fails to tap into his inner Chuck Norris (or maybe just Michael Dudikoff). Co-star Carano, who plays Harry’s partner and ex-lover Victoria, fares slightly better when she takes out a baddie during a frenzied warehouse fight. But while Carano’s technical skills are impressive, she’s never raw or eccentric enough to compel viewers to anticipate her next move.

Extraction constantly tries to score a flashy TKO — but never lands a decent body blow.

Extraction

Directed by Steven C. Miller

Lions Gate

Opens December 18

Available on demand