EXTRACTION

Reviewed by GREG KING

Director: Sam Hargrave

Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Priyanshu Painyuli, Randeep Hooda, David Harbour, Golshifteh Farahani.

While cinemas tend to be off limits during the global pandemic, the likes of streaming giant Netflix and other similar services have been providing plenty of content for filmgoers. Filmed under the auspices of Netflix with a budget of $65million, and produced by the Russo brothers, Extraction follows the success of other recent Netflix original action films like The Old Guard and Project Power, and has proven a winner with fans of this genre.

Extraction is based on the graphic comic book Ciudad created by Ande Parks and illustrated by Fernando Leon Gonzalez. A team of screenwriters including Parks and Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo have adapted the material for the screen, although they have relocated the setting from Paraguay to the subcontinent.

Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) is the son of a notorious Indian drug dealer who is languishing in prison. Ovi is kidnapped by Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli), a ruthless rival criminal overlord from Dhaka. Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), a cynical and jaded mercenary, who is burned out and possibly suicidal, is hired by Ovi’s father’s oily representative Saju (Randeep Hooda) to effect a rescue. This mission impossible may well be his final mission. But from the moment he rescues Ovi from the kidnappers he faces danger from every level. When Asif places a bounty on his head, Rake is pursued by gangsters, corrupt cops, and even a gang of child soldiers looking to establish their reputation.

Making his feature film directorial debut here, director Sam Hargrave (a former stunt co-ordinator who has worked on films like Atomic Blonde, and with Hemsworth as part of the MCU, etc) maintains a fast and furious pace throughout this adrenaline-charged but formulaic actioner. His muscular, visceral handling delivers some well-staged set pieces, superbly choreographed fights, shootouts, bone crunching action and a high body count to rival the likes of the John Wick series. The violence is quite gritty and brutal.

The highlight is a stunning extended shootout and bloody chase sequence through a crowded apartment block and the streets of Dhaka that is meant to look like it was shot in one continuous take – kudos to cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel (Bohemian Rhapsody, etc) for his energetic shooting style that takes us into the thick of the action. The film is set in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, but it was shot largely on location in the Indian city of Ahmedabad. You can almost smell the corruption and poverty.

Hemsworth further cements his action hero credentials here with a scrappy and very physical performance as the weary Rake. But Hargrave slows the action down a couple of times to allow for some character development and to give us Rake’s backstory, adding a more human element to the character that makes him more than a one-dimensional killing machine. And Rake slowly bonds with Ovi, which adds another element to the nonstop action and carnage. There is great chemistry between Hemsworth and Jaiswal that elevates the formulaic material.

The solid cast also includes David Harbour (from Stranger Things, etc) as Gaspar, a mercenary who initially helps Tyler and Ovi in their escape; Golshifteh Farahani, from Patterson, etc) as Rake’s business partner Khan.

Extraction is a decent and effectively staged action film and, while not particularly original, it certainly offers enough carnage and bloody violence to please fans of this sort of thing.

★★★

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