Directed by Sam Hargrave
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, Golshifteh Farahani, Priyanshu Painyuli, and David Harbour
Runtime: 117 Minutes
Rating: R (For strong bloody violence throughout, language and brief drug use.)
Release Date: April 24th, 2020
Streaming Options: Netflix
As I write the review of this film, Extraction sits at #6 in “Movies Today” on Netflix’s Top Ten. The backstory of how this film came about is interesting for starters so let’s go there first. This film is based on a graphic novel (stay with me) called Ciudad written by Ande Parks AND the Russo Brothers. Yes the same Russo brothers that are all things Marvel. So I was intrigued. If Marvel films aren’t your cup of tea. Completely fine. This isn’t a superhero movie. As I watched the trailer it reminded me of a film I have high praise for called Man on Fire which starred Denzel Washington. The plot seemed similar…mercenary protects kid. Was this just a rehash of a cookie-cutter plot? Maybe just MAYBE it may be elevated by certain aspects. Spoiler alert – it was. Another interesting anecdote regarding this film is the director. This is Sam Hargrave’s directorial debut, and previously he worked as a stuntman and stunt coordinator…in you guessed it. Marvel films. The last connection to the Marvel universe would be our main star Chris Hemsworth aka Thor. So we have the director, writers, and star all having previously worked together in some capacity. Would their chemistry shine through?
Onto the film.
The book is called Ciudad yes but this film actually takes place predominately in India and Bangladesh. Specifically a place called Dhaka (this was also the original title for the film.) Immediately we are taking over cities and the music immediately puts you in a mindset of “this is going to be a wild ride” The camera pans across the skyline until we get to a bridge. Here we met our protagonist Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) gravely injured. We see him picturing something but we aren’t able to make out what it is. It looks as if he is about to die. We then cut to 2 days earlier in Mumbai, India. We soon me the whole reason the future mission will take place. A young boy named Ovi (Jaiswal) is the son of an extremely wealthy crime lord. His father is in prison but he is looked after by family and in a sense his “handler” named Saju (Hooda) Saju tells Ovi to stay home for the evening. He’s a teenage boy…Do you think he listens?
I don’t think I’m spoiling a film called Extraction by letting you know Ovi gets taken. This is where the film takes off. Ovi is kidnapped by a rival crime lord against his father named Amir Asif (Painyuli) This man wants leverage, and of course the money asked for in the ransom.
Ovi’s father asks for him finding his son. The handler Saju makes calls to get into touch with Nik Khan (Farahani) to find him someone to save Ovi. We then meet Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) this time without so many bullet holes. It’s obvious immediately that he has lost the will to live. (You’ll find out why) He takes the job ESPECIALLY because of the insurmountable odds and the story really unfolds.
Alright. No more plot from me. I will say this. Of course there are twists and turns but what I found refreshing from this film compared to others that are similar is the backstories involved. I found myself feeling torn for a certain “bad guy” and normally with action films the enemy isn’t layered. This isn’t the case here. The same with Rake and Ovi. They both are top notch in this and this is a prime example of acting elevating the script. Is the story brand new? Absolutely not but when you care for the characters that doesn’t weigh as heavy as normal. Also for all the Stranger Things fans out there. David Harbour is IN THIS! I won’t reveal his part in this but you’ll be impressed. I also enjoyed this film’s setting in India and how in depth it went into the culture. We always see the “bad guys” as Russia, North Korea, or Iraq. This change of pace was interesting and I felt made this film seem fresh.
I’d really like to give this film 5 stars. The filming is on par with 1918 in my opinion. Do you remember how I told you that film seemed like it was all shot in one take? This film does something similar. The director and writers called it “the oner” and it’s a 12 minute sequence that plays that it as happens in one fluid motion. VERY COOL. I watched it twice and spent the majority of the film trying to guess which scene it was. This is a big budget film (they’ve filmed on location) but it feels personal, and grounded.
Normally I’d give this 5 stars, but here I can’t. First is because although the acting and script works the story has been told many times. Also some of you may hate reading subtitles. The majority of this dialogue is in Hindi. I personally watch everything with subtitles (I’m getting old and can’t blast the TV on max volume) but I didn’t want to give this film a perfect review if you can’t do subtitles. I had a friend tell me that immediately turned it off because of that. I encourage you to take the time to watch this film. You won’t be able to play on your phone or scroll through Facebook while watching. I tried. I had to rewind it. This is a wild ride akin to John Wick and Jason Bourne. Also a rake is used as a weapon…come on! 4 stars out of 5 #SHOPLOCAL #STAYSAFE