Extraction

 

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As former SAS veteran Tyler Rake, Chris Hemsworth takes Dhaka apart in Sam Hargrave’s aggressively efficient action-thriller.

 

Extraction

Driving a hard bargain: Chris Hemsworth and Rudhraksh Jaiswal

  

In Mumbai, Ovi Mahajan Jr (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the teenage son of an incarcerated drug tsar, leads a solitary life. Then one night he sneaks out to a nightclub with his best friend and is cornered by two policemen. After some jocular banter, the police execute his friend and bundle him into their car. With Mahajan Sr behind bars and his assets frozen, Ovi’s father is unable to pay the ransom demanded by his Bangladeshi rival, the merciless kingpin Amir Asif. So, Mahajan Sr (Pankaj Tripathi) orders his right-hand man, Saju (Randeep Hooda), to steal his son back or suffer the consequences: the elimination of his own family. Saju turns to the only man he knows who is rash and accomplished enough to infiltrate Amir Asif’s closed world in Dhaka. The latter is Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), an Australian mercenary who needs the cash and has little to lose – he agrees to the assignment without a second thought. Drawing on his expertise learned while serving in Australia’s SAS, Tyler ‘extracts’ the boy from his kidnappers and heads into the streets of Dhaka. However, Tyler hadn’t reckoned on the long arm of Amir Asif, who has both the police and the army in his back pocket and orders an entire lockdown of the city…

 

It is an anomalous phenomenon of recent online product that so much of it arrives with an 18 certificate. Films like The Platform, Moffie, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, Cuck, Circus of Books and now this, an uncompromising bloodbath from the pen of Joe Russo. Nonetheless, it’s an extremely proficient thriller, replete with smart choices. There are elements of Bourne, Bond (especially Spectre) and a generous helping of Sicario 2, but it’s really its own animal – and it bites. When people die, they die instantly, with none of the paraphernalia of more ostentatious actioners, with flailing arms and pink sprays of CGI-generated blood. The stunt work is second to none and is the achievement of first-time director Sam Hargrave, the stunt coordinator of The Hunger Games, Captain America: Civil War, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2 and the Avengers films. There is one extended, twelve-minute sequence seemingly captured in a single take, which borrows the opening shot of Spectre and the entire running time of 1917 and runs with it at breakneck speed, with the camera achieving a life of its own, zipping round anxious onlookers, tumbling bodies and exploding vehicles. It’s a masterclass of sustained action. And the setting, if not the tropes of the genre, is choice: Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, provides a colourful, grimy backdrop and is exquisitely captured by the drone cameras of DP Newton Thomas Sigel. Henry Jackman and Alex Belcher's score, and the naturalistic sound design of Mark Binder and Josh Gold, are also top-notch.

 

However, there is a very nasty streak running throughout the film, particularly when highlighting Amir Asif’s unbridled sadism. Nicely underplayed by the Bollywood actor and model Priyanshu Painyuli, Asif recruits children to do his dirty work and cements their loyalty by hurling their friends off a rooftop. He also demands they cut off their fingers to show their allegiance. It is an aspect of Extraction that is both gratuitous and unnecessary – the action scenes are more than gripping enough. And Hemsworth, shouldering the mantle of a latter-day Rambo and younger Liam Neeson (in Taken mode), is sufficient value as a one-man army perfectly able to take Dhaka apart at the seams. And in a handful of deftly realised scenes with his young ward, he displays a humanity beneath the brawn that is surprisingly affecting.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, Golshifteh Farahani, Pankaj Tripathi, Priyanshu Painyuli, David Harbour, Adam Bessa, Shataf Figar, Suraj Rikame, Neha Mahajan, Sam Hargrave, Rayna Campbell.

 

Dir Sam Hargrave, Pro Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Chris Hemsworth, Mike Larocca, Eric Gitter and Peter Schwern, Screenplay Joe Russo, from a story by Ande Parks, Joe Russo and Anthony Russo, Ph Newton Thomas Sigel, Pro Des Philip Ivey, Ed Peter B. Ellis and Ruthie Aslan, Music Henry Jackman and Alex Belcher, Costumes Bojana Nikitovic.

 

AGBO/Thematic Entertainment/India Take One Productions/T.G.I.M. Films-Netflix.

117 mins. USA. 2020. Rel: 24 April 2020. Available on Netflix. Cert. 18.