STREAM GUIDE: It seems every movie we get to see the sexy Chris Hemsworth, he seems to be man on a mission from the get go. In the Netflix original ‘Extraction’ the actor is thrown in the absolute mayhem of Bangladesh stuck between the battle of two powerful drug-lords.
Hemsworth coughs blood and as he stares into space we wonder what could possibly have happened that lead to so much pain? Almost on cue we are quickly taken back two days earlier to give some context before director Sam Hargrave can bedazzle us with his stunt genius. Don’t forget, Sam has been the stunt coordinator for films like Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame, so the adrenaline rush is an absolutely legitimate expectation.
Extraction is about a fight between the biggest drug lord in India vs the biggest drug lord in Bangladesh. Both only mouth instructions and then step back. Pankaj Tripathi’s presence is limited to that one scene in the prison where he tasks Saju (Randeep Hooda ) to find his son Rudhraksh Jaiswal. Priyanshu Painyuli plays Amir Asif described as Dhaka’s very own Pablo Escobar. The heavy lifting is left therefore to Chris Hemsworth and Randeep Hooda. An arms dealer (Golshifteh Farahani) hires Tyler Rake to extract the kid and the threadbare script really is about who wants to foil the extraction plans and who wants to go through with it.
Based on the graphic novel Civdad by Ande Parks, Extraction flows like an action video game. The battle arena is set up with all kinds of physical challenges that our players must navigate to proceed from one level to another. Not just the antagonists, DOP Newton Thomas Sigel’s many striking aerial shots of the congested concrete landscape give us a thrilling view the topography of the place. Bang in the middle of the film is a 12-minute long sequence replete with a car chase, gun battle, knife fights and hand to hand combats as Rake and Ovi run through the many serpentine lanes and gutters that prove to be so much of a challenge.
In the action inside a crumbling building complex while handholding the kid, Rake enters and exits room after room as we hear one Hindi song flow into another. Akhiyon Se Goli Maare…, Mehendi Laga Ke Rakhna… – Bollywood is hard to be left behind even in Dhaka. In fact this brings us to the mystery of Priyanshu Painyuli’s laboured accent, which just makes one wonder about why no local actor was roped in instead. He gets a raw deal, an antagonist with no fangs, he is mostly shown exchanging notes with a bunch of street kids about his missing money.
As the bullets ricochet, the awesome hand-eye coordination and shooting with precision seem to be the only escape. The dizzying camera work adds to the urgency and tension, especially since there isn’t much to fall back on especially in terms of the requisite emotional play off. A couple of snatches of conversation between Rudhraksh and Hemsworth hint at the loneliness and pain that they both carry with them. These breathers allow for some nuance and capture the fleeting coherence of memories but it’s like Hargrave is himself in a hurry to make Hemsworth reach the finish line.
Hemsworth is visibly tormented by a past that is still alive in the guilt that he feels, and yet in his gun toting avatar, his command never slips. Young Rudhrakh is astonishingly convincing as the teenager who feels like a loner and misfit in the world his father inhabits. One of the most interesting characters is that of Saju, brought to life by Randeep Hooda, who in his consummate style approaches the role with effortless ease. His sequences with Hemsworth or even the moral conundrum he finds himself in are both portrayed with chilling finesse.
At 105 minutes with an almost 14 minute-long end credit sequence set to an interesting Bangla rap, Extraction is enjoyable while it lasts. Chris Hemsworth and Randeep Hooda shoulder the maximum responsibility and give us no reasons to complain. It would be unfair to say that Hargrave’s flair and Hemsworth’s vociferousness doesn’t hold their own, but frankly since story isn’t great shakes, the action is a good enough distraction.
Extraction is currently streaming on Netflix starring Chris Hemsworth and Randeep Hooda.