‘Extraction’: Mercenary’s deadly feats and flights of derring-do pack a mighty wallop
There’s a lot of shaking, rattling and rolling, although not of the supernatural sort, when Chris Hemsworth is fielded as a mercenary with a death wish on a do-or-die undertaking in Sam Hargrave’s “Extraction.” As action films go, this one packs a mighty wallop—in fact, bodies pile up even before it breaches the 20-minute mark.
While the movie isn’t in any way groundbreaking, the rousing two-hour actioner, which will be streamed on Netflix beginning today, nonetheless shows “Thor’s” muscle-bound star giving it all he’s got. He shuttles between the role’s daunting physical demands and the emotional motivation driving his character, Tyler Rake, to accept a deadly mission that begins in Mumbai and culminates in Dhaka.
These unique localities alone give the actioner an exotic look and texture that help set the film apart from ho-hum Hollywood fare—an exciting romp off dusty roads, narrow nooks and confined spaces in exotic but claustrophobic Dhaka as 200 cops, countless crooks of various criminal persuasions and blade-toting teenage street urchins are hot on Chris’ scorching trail.
Action aficionados will get a kick out of “Extraction’s” brand of hard action and visceral violence as they are introduced to the FPJ-channeling do-or-die task of Afghan war veteran Tyler, now a highly paid mercenary who’s still grieving the death of his lymphoma-stricken 6-year-old son.
As his friends aptly observe, Tyler accepts often lethal but financially lucrative missions thrown his way to punish himself for his inability to save his only child. Seeing Tyler carelessly handling a handgun, a colleague tells him, “You’re hoping that if you spin the chambers [often] enough, you’re going to get the bullet.”
But Tyler finally gets his death wish heard when he and his team are hired to rescue Ovi Mahajan Jr. (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the 14-year-old son of imprisoned Indian drug lord Ovi Sr. (Pankaj Tripathi), who’s been kidnapped by the goons of vengeful Bangladeshi drug lord Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli), whose power and influence hold massive sway in Dhaka.
Tyler’s decision to accept the mission is as reckless and loopy as his current state of mind. “No one else is going to commit to something this f**ked up,” his friend quips.
But Tyler’s circuitous hurdles don’t stop there: It is the task of Ovi Sr.’s assistant, Saju (Randeep Hooda), to make sure the rescue operation is accomplished without a hitch. And it does, initially at least—until Tyler realizes that Saju does not really intend to pay him because he can’t get his hands on his imprisoned boss’ frozen assets!
With the help of Gaspar (David Harbour of “Stranger Things”), a former colleague in Kandahar, Tyler has enough time to escape and abort the mission. But does he have the heart to “leave” behind another hapless and helpless boy, who has become increasingly close to him? We dare you to make a wild guess.
Despite its occasional predictability, the film benefits as much from Chris’ heart-on-sleeve portrayal as it does from the string of convincing “contravidas” who look like they would happily bludgeon Tyler for his “impertinence” and emasculating feats and flights of derring-do in urgently staged chase scenes, gut-wrenching man-to-man combat and take-no-prisoners shootouts. We can imagine how all that must have hurt a lot for the actors involved.
While Chris is the anchor that holds the production together, it is also invigorating to see “fresh” faces we don’t often see in mainstream films—from the gentle Rudhraksh to the terrific “bida-kontrabida” Bollywood actor Randeep.
Here’s a fascinating trivia for the country’s beauty-pageant fanatics: The 43-year-old multiaward-winning Randeep became 1994 Miss Universe Sushmita Sen’s boyfriend after they worked together on the set of Manish Gupta’s 2009 drama, “Karma, Confessions and Holi.”
As it turned out, some romances aren’t meant to last: The couple decided to call it quits after they reportedly “outgrew” each other three years later. Randeep was later quoted in an interview, “I was exposed to fame, although I was just on the sidelines, as I was not a star. But the breakup was the best thing that happened to me, and I realized that I gave it too much time in my life. It freed my energy to do things for myself.”
In “Extraction,” Randeep also spends a lot of energy that feeds off Chris’ passion for and commitment to the story. You may have already seen some of the elements that make it work in other films, but that doesn’t make this actioner any less entertaining and engrossing to its target audience.