Updated: May 3, 2020
Extraction, the latest Netflix original movie, lives up to the old dictum - "Women like movies in which one person dies slowly, men love movies in which many people die quickly". That certainly was true in my household tonight - my wife was cringing at the rated M for Mature video game level of non-stop violence with bullets flying, heads exploding, bones shattering, while my teen son and I were whooping it up. One pretty long action set piece made to look like a single take was particularly noteworthy in that regard.
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Thor from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), as Aussie mercenary with a death wish Tyler Rake, Extraction starts in Mumbai with the kidnapping of a jailed drug lord's (the excellent Pankaj Tripathi wasted in a blink and miss role) teenage son, and then shifts the rest of the virtually non-stop action to Dhaka, Bangladesh. That in itself has got to be some kind of a first - I don't recall ever seeing a mainstream English or Hindi movie set in Bangladesh. Rake is hired to extract the boy and get him back to India. The movie will not win any awards for a brilliantly original script or dialog, but that is typically not what you are looking for in a popcorn action movie. Directed by Sam Hargrave, who was the stunt coordinator on a bunch of MCU movies, and written by Joe Russo, who was the director on many of the same movies like Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), they bring that DNA of well-choreographed mayhem to this movie as well.
David Harbour, known to most of today's generation from Netflix's series Stranger Things, has a cameo. Randeep Hooda, known mostly from the Salman Khan vehicles Kick (2014) and Sultan (2016), plays the henchman Saju to the aforementioned Pankaj Tripathi's drug lord Ovi Mahajan Sr. I think Pankaj Tripathi, who was brilliant in movies like Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), Newton (2017) and Stree (2018), is now included merely as a good luck charm in many movies like here, and in Angrezi Medium which I recently reviewed. There are a bunch of kids as gangsters who are hilariously over the top. Ultimately however, every action movie needs a great villain. Priyanshu Painyuli (Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (2018)) as Bangla drug lord Amir Asif is however, no Thanos to Rake's Thor.
While watching this movie, I was reminded of another movie where a mercenary with a conflicted past is trying to rescue a child - Man on Fire (2004) starring one of my favorite actors Denzel Washington, a precociously talented Dakota Fanning, and directed by the late, great Tony Scott. This movie is not a patch on that one, which in addition to action, had immense heart, drama and emotion, which this one sorely lacks, except as a tack-on. If however you are trying to "extract" the boredom on a lock-down weekend night, and looking for what is known in Bambaiyya slang as timepass, then Extraction, though not any kind of Marvel, will get its target to safety.
April 25, 2020