“EXTRACTION” RAKES IN A PLETHORA OF HARSH, VIOLENT ACTION
A TV Film Review by Tim Riley
“EXTRACTION” ON NETFLIX
With movie theaters remaining closed for the time being, the desire to watch a new film, instead of binge-watching a TV series, leaves one with few options outside the streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.For its part, Netflix is ready to fill the vacuum with original movies and with established commodities. Case in point is the recent Mark Wahlberg film “Spenser Confidential” that allowed the Boston native to star in an action film set in his hometown.
Chris Hemsworth, the Australian actor of flowing locks in the role of Thor, is no less a fierce warrior in Netflix’s “Extraction,” wherein his character of Tyler Rake is a fearless black market mercenary with a penchant for violence that suits his character.To make no mistake that “Extraction” is a feature length film rather than a television movie-of-the-week, the MPAA has properly attached the R rating for “strong bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use.” Our viewing of it is a virtual experience of mayhem.
Directing this effort for cinematic bedlam is former stuntman and stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave, who also served as a second unit director on “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”With a background tuned to the need to deliver action thrills, often of the death-defying nature, Hargrave goes about the business of directing a serviceable thriller that spares no kinetic energy to deliver the goods.
We may be getting ahead of the story, but the Hargrave style is realized in an 11-minute-long sequence designed to look like one seamless shot that would include several car chases, pile ups, hand-to-hand combat, running through tenements, and leaping and falling off roofs.The film opens with Tyler, caked with blood, pinned down on a bridge under heavy fire and apparently hemmed in by a dwindling opportunity for an exit. This scene is merely a prologue to the ultimate climactic action sequence.
Backing up from the opening by a couple of days, Tyler is camping in the Australian wilderness with a couple of buddies. Moments later he takes a flying leap off a cliff into a lake below, remaining submerged in the water where he seems to be pondering his fate.The answer comes soon enough when arms dealer Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani) arrives at his ramshackle cabin in the middle of nowhere. She has a past with Tyler but we’re not quite sure what it is. Could it be more than a platonic history with a fellow mercenary?
Given his living quarters, Tyler looks like a guy who needs a payday. His reckless nature has no problem taking an extremely risky job offer from Nik to venture into hostile territory to rescue the kidnapped son of an Indian drug lord imprisoned in Mumbai.The adolescent Ovi (Rudkraksh Jaiswal) is snatched by thugs of his father’s Bangladeshi rival, Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli), a callous villain that has no qualms about having a kid tossed off a roof or commanding a henchman to cut off two of his own fingers.
Let’s be clear about the fact that Ovi’s father (Pankaj Tripathi) is no prince either. He tasks his own henchman Saju (Randeep Hooda) to retrieve the boy, noting that failure would result in the death of Saju’s family. While Tyler succeeds in rescuing Ovi in the early going with his one-man raid on a hideaway where he kills the numerous captors by a variety of brutal means, including a gruesome use of a garden rake.
The rescue was the so-called easy part. Getting out of Dhaka proves far more challenging since the well-connected Amir, untouchable to his foes, has the local police and military in his back pocket. A corrupt high-level military officer exercises his authority to close down the city for a manhunt similar to how a NYPD officer shutdown all routes in and out of Manhattan in “21 Bridges.”
A major break in the action occurs when Ovi and Tyler take refuge at the home of Gaspar (David Harbour), a fellow mercenary and old friend who may not be very helpful when he counsels Tyler to give up the impossible mission.
The only escape route for Ovi and Tyler is a treacherous crossing on a long bridge, and the climactic action, with a surfeit of gunfire and explosions, ends up where we first got a glimpse in the prologue.Despite its breathtaking, action-packed set-pieces that are spectacularly staged, “Extraction” is the type of generic thriller that would have once featured a younger Bruce Willis or Sylvester Stallone, most likely to the same effect as what Chris Hemsworth brings to the screen.
This is not to say that action junkies, who have to wait another year for the fourth chapter of “John Wick,” won’t enjoy “Extraction” in the absence of alternatives. It’s just that one’s expectation shouldn’t get too worked up too high.