Netflix’s ‘Extinction’ is a Blend of B-Movie Galore and a Big Budget Blockbuster
by Nile Fortner
Extinction is a new Netflix original Sci-Fi thriller starring two actors who are fresh off some Marvel roles, Michael Pena from the latest Marvel Studios flick Ant-Man and the Wasp and Mike Colter who is fresh off season two of Luke Cage. The film also stars Lizzy Caplan (known for Now You See Me 2) and the film is directed by Hounds of Love director Ben Young.
Michael Pena plays Peter; Peter has been having nightmares about a destructive unknown force wreaking havoc in the city and Peter must find the strength to save his family during a devastating extraterrestrial attack. The film does roam around in familiar territory; on the other hand, Netflix’s Extinction has its moments.
For all the people who weren’t a fan of Michael Pena and wanted his character to be less annoying in Ant-Man, well you can say you get your wish. Pena has taken a chill pill, but maybe that pill and the Ant-Man feedback has gotten him and the cast a little to mellow. Our main actor and character is written in a way that makes him a weak lead.
We know Pena has charisma, just watch him in David Ayer’s 2012 film End of Watch or more recently Ant-Man and the Wasp. Michael Peña is bland in this role and doesn’t really display any other emotions besides anger and confusion. This is also surprising because of the crazy behavior around him, so it’s not as if Pena has a bland performance based upon the plot. His previous efforts make him worthy of a leading role, it’s just for an actor who packs charisma and is even known to be a little over the top in his roles, he seems lifeless.
The film tries to give Pena’s character Peter some character development with Peter getting black outs and bickering with his wife Alice, played by Lizzy Caplan. I get a kick out of Peter’s nightmares that dive into plot elements that will have an effect on the story. His nightmares show war and mysterious unknown beings killing numerous individuals.
With a movie that has a pace that moves this rapidly to get to the action, it’s hard to connect or really care about anyone. Despite Peter’s mental health, the script makes him feel bland and hard to connect with because the film moves at such a fast pace. Very few of the characters stand out, because every character feels secondary at not as important as the plot. Mike Colter, known for his role as Luke Cage feels wasted in this movie. Colter, who I love as an actor, seems to lack the same passion that he had in his role of Luke Cage or in the 2017 film Girls Trip. The standout character and actress would be Israel Broussard (known for Happy Death Day). Broussard plays a bad-ass soldier fighting against the alien invasion and she is what I wanted to see more of on screen and even in Pena’s character.
Going into Extinction, I believe it is best to go in with the mindset of this is the type of film you’d see on the SyFy channel or a made for television movie that would have worked best as a series. What really saves his film is the twist ending. We won’t spoil the twist here, but it does boost the credibility of the movie. I wouldn’t call it a game-changer of a twist, but it’s a twist that is truly trying to better the material and not have a twist just for the sake of having a twist. It’s the craft that goes into the twist that allows our characters to finally show some emotional stakes.
This movie is packed with a lot of action. Windows shatter, buildings blast, and carnage follows our character wherever they go throughout the city. This movie is treating itself like the big budget blockbuster films we’ve seen. However, the CGI is really cheap and at times it feels like a film you’d see go straight to the SyFy channel. It’s a B-Movie treating itself seriously and I respect the filmmakers working with what they have. Despite the poor CGI, you still get a suspenseful film, futuristic gun battles that are fun, and the film really is tailored for the Sci-Fi B-Movie crowd. Extinction is currently on Netflix and I believe this movie earns a…
3 out of 5 Hairpieces!