Extraction: Film Review

Extraction (2020) - IMDb

With the recent increase in demand for action warfare, which audiences are currently being deprived of on the big screen, Extraction was perfectly timed for its release. Directed by Sam Hargrave (stunt coordinator for the last 2 avengers films), written by Joe Russo (Co-director of Captain America: Civil War and the last two avengers films) and starring Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth, ‘Extraction’ had really high expectations. With some amazing chase sequences, hand-to-hand combats, gunfights and explosions it absolutely hits the right spot. The action is non-stop right off the bat but, honestly, the rest is quite middling.

We’re introduced to Tyler Rake, an Australian mercenary whose introduction scene is almost perfect to educate the audience about his character. He’s seen jumping off a cliff and meditating at the bottom of a lake, with some emotions of pain to show how he battles his internal demons: a perfect summary of his character in 1 scene. Rake is called into service to rescue Ovi Mahajan (Rudraksh Jaiswal), the son of an Indian druglord (Pankaj Tripathi – played only for one short scene though), which is essentially the plot of the film. Ovi has been kidnapped by Amir (Priyanshu Painyuli) – his father’s rival – a sadistic but almost classy Bangladeshi drug lord. He’s young, powerful, has a certain sense of style and has a Bangladeshi military officer in his pocket. When I say sadistic, Amir really takes it to the next level – from kidnapping one child, throwing another off the roof and cutting off two of the child’s fingers simply because one if not enough!

What’s surprising is that usually in action movies like this which revolve around a ‘rescue mission,’ the first half of the movie is rescuing the victim an then the rest is escaping back home or killing the villain. In ‘Extraction,’ however,’ Tyler rescues Ovi in the first few minutes of the film and with relative ease. The majority of the movie is Tyler fighting off kids, military officials, Saju and almost everyone in the city to get out of Amir’s ‘lair.’ This goes to show the attention to detail and the amount of planning that went into the action sequences throughout the film. It’s like a race – the foot is never off the pedal right from the start till the end of the race.

Hargrave, a veteran from the Marvel universe, as more than enough experience being a stuntman, stunt coordinator and second unit director for some of he most action heavy films (Civil war and several avengers films). He does brilliantly with all the shootouts, explosions, chase sequences and fights.  His directorial style favours a lot of close-range clashes and fights which make the film so much more interactive. His unique ability to weave his way through this action sequences with such fluidity using hand-held cameras makes the audience feel caught up right in the middle of the action. One scene in particular, where the film follows the new trend of single-take sequences, set by ‘1917,’ looks fantastic. His stlye complements Hemsworth’s raw power and masculinity so well.

The set, however, wasn’t justified completely for me. On of the key components of the film was that it was set in Dhaka but it never acquires that distinct character that it should. It simply serves as a backdrop for Hemsworth. Anyways, he delivers everything and more with his natural ability to ‘turn up the heat.’

The screenplay is quite good for an action film, inspired from a graphic novel by Joe Russo himself. It holds up the film but still has space for quite some more. Amir, the lead antagonist in the film, is described as “Dhaka’s Pablo Escobar” but he really doesn’t get to evolve too much as the dreadful, terrorizing drug lord character; majority of his scenes are just sitting back and ordering a few of his dogs to clean up the mess. I mean yeah actions speak louder than words and there was more than enough action to solidify who Amir was, but I was just begging for a few more trademark dialogues from him or a certain quirk maybe that would fortify the heartless character he is. Hemsworth is more than capable to do all the heavy lifting himself but the lack of a worthy adversary undermines his performance. Another feature I really missed was Chris Hemsworth charisma. He has this amazing natural ability to radiate charisma in addition to his brilliant comic timing but he didn’t get any opportunity to highlight that in the film.

The performances are quite good honestly. Hemsworth steals the show as always but Painyuli, Randeep Hooda (as Saju), Golshifteh Farahani (as Nik Khan), Rudraksh and David Harbour (as Gaspar) have justified their own parts well. Hooda, especially, with his rock-steady performace as Saju has a powerful impact on screen.

Another feature that stood out were the soundtracks that were peppered throughout the action sequences. I love the idea of songs like ‘Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga’ and ‘Mehendi lagake rakhna’ playing in the background while some crazy action sequence is playing onscreen. It usually seemed to work but eventually got slightly odd at parts. Overall, though, this decision added a more positive impact to the sequences than negative so I’m all for it.

All in all, this movie was a cracker that explodes right in your face. The action sequences are absolutely brilliant and Chris Hemsworth does exactly what Chris Hemsworth does for 2 hours straight. Trust me, as far as the action sequences go, your expectations will be surpassed. Of course there are a few negatives and the story isn’t as strong but they don’t largely interfere with the films rhythm and purpose. Netflix adds a powerful addition to their arsenal of action genre films. It may not be high quality cinema but it’s entertaining for sure – people flying everywhere, bullets being fired, bombs exploding, cars flying all over the place (I mean it’s almost as if Rohit Shetty had a part to play in the making). It’s one of those movies where you don’t have to use too much of your brain to watch: sit back, shout ‘Holy shit’ a couple of times and just have fun.

– Aryamaan Dholakia

Aryamaan’s Score – 73/100                                                                Aman Score –

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