By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
One part thriller and two-parts apocalypse, Extinction is a film on Netflix trying to make Michael Peña an action star. He’s not Die Hard material (yet). He’s better known for his comedy and when in his element, he certainly shines. Put him in roles where he’s a second banana like Ant-Man, not so much. His diversity as the lead star just needs the right director to help bring out. Filmmaker Ben Young comes close in this futuristic work about a man just wanting a simple life.
In this film, he’s an engineer by day and troubled soul at night. His family is worried after hearing about his dreams. They seemingly foreshadow an alien invasion. Peter is confused more often than not, (which is perfect for Pēna to play up) but for saving his family in these prolonged “dream sequences,” he’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The mystery is who are the invaders? Films never need to explain every detail. When the piece forces the perspective of one person singled out to have these visions and he’s no prophet, some clues need to emerge. The pieces are there. When Act Three reveals itself, I had to bang my head against the wall and should have realized!
The first half of this movie is disorganized, suggesting a Groundhog’s Day type scenario, but to realize what’s going on means paying careful attention. Peter’s blackouts did not help with this pacing, as I was wondering what he was seeing was his dream or real life. He certainly loves his family and will do anything to protect them.
The larger tale that unfolds is worthy of a science fiction novel Isaac Asimov would write. To even hint of what it is can spoil the entire movie. The production is nice enough to keep viewers like me guessing, and when it all unfolds, I am hoping Peter and his family find the peace they want. No sequel is needed.
3½ Stars out of 5