Extraction movie cast: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, Priyanshu Painyuli, Golshifteh Farhani, Pankaj Tripathi, Suraj Rikame
Extraction movie director: Sam Hargrave
Extraction movie rating: 2.5 stars
A one man army, armed and ready to go. A young boy abducted for massive ransom. Countless men with machine guns. A rescue mission which goes south. And a body count that goes north, every time you blink. Not stuff that you haven’t seen before, no. A lot of Extraction, a Netflix original, is an actioner which has been cobbled together from bits and bobs of similar movies. What keeps you watching is the rat-a-tat-tat pace when the going is hot and heavy, and also, paradoxically, when the characters slow down to catch their breath, and exchange a few words.
Hemsworth, putting his trademark Thor hammer behind him, goes down and dirty in this one, which is located mostly in the seedier side of Dhaka, via Mumbai. His mercenary-for-hire Tyler Rake, hair mussed, eyes creased, weighed down by a tragic back story, is in search of redemption. And that comes in the shape of saving fourteen-year-old Ovi Mahajan (Jaiswal), son of an incarcerated drug lord (Tripathi), from vicious mob boss Asif (Painyuli).
There’s some emo stuff thrown in. While on the run, Jake and Ovi (what kind of name is that?) find the time to share a few sentimental details about themselves: the former with how he is still hurting from the loss of loved ones, the latter about his dry, lonely life in a gilded palace. The gorgeous Golshifteh, who shows up bristling with fancy gadgets as the rescue mission manager, clearly has a soft spot for the wasted Jake, but darn, why don’t they get a tender moment to themselves? I wanted more of this actress who is capable of much more.
That’s because, duh, this is a guy’s movie, with lots of good-bad, good-but-greedy, and totally bad guys running around, shooting people, slashing throats, and killing whoever comes in the way (in one scene, a very young child is dispatched with frightening speed). Lots of blood, lots of brutality, and some clunkiness, all on loud display: this isn’t a film you should be watching on your home devices; it needs stereophonic, surround sound.
There’s not much space in a Hemsworth-produced film for too many other faces, but still, the desi contingent does get a look-in: Hooda as the not-quite-sure-which-side-he’s-on is watchable as always, Jaiswal as the terrified companion-on-the-run settles into his groove after an initial fumble or two, Tripathi comes in for a flash. Painyuli, as the baddie with a penchant for chopped fingers, gets a couple of stand-out scenes, with his young slumdog-in-training, the interestingly-scarred Rikame. These two turn on real menace between them.
The rest is the familiar wham-bam-bam-bam escape fantasy. Stands to reason because of all its Marvel connections. But then Extraction never set out to be any other kind of film. And for what it is, right now, in these lockdown times, it does what it needs to: where the good guy, even if he is a white first-worlder saving the slummy third world, one bullet at a time, comes out on top.
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