DIRECTED BY: Sam Hargrave
STARRING: Chris Hemsworth, Randeep Hooda, David Harbour, Manoj Bajpayee, Golshifteh Farahani, Rohit Sukhwani, Rudraksh Jaiswal, Marc Donato, Pankaj Tripathi, Priyanshu Painyulli, Adam Bessa, Suraj Rikame and Shataf Figar
Tyler Rake, a fearless black market mercenary, embarks on the most deadly extraction of his career when he’s enlisted to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord.
Tyler Rake is a fearless black market mercenary who embarks on the deadliest mission of his career when he’s enlisted to rescue the kidnapped son of an international crime lord. But in the murky underworld of weapons dealers and drug traffickers, an already deadly mission approaches the impossible, forever altering the lives of Rake and the boy.
Based on the comic Ciudad by Andre Parks, The Russo Brothers, Fernando Leon Gonzalez and Eric Skillman, the film also marks the directorial feature debut of stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave. The film is produced by Anthony and Joe Russo, with the latter penning the screenplay, which focuses on mercenary Tyler Rake, who is handed the assignment of saving Ovi Mahajan, the young son of India’s biggest crime lord Ovi Mahajan Sr., whose been kidnapped by rival and Bangladesh’s crime lord Amir Asif. While Tyler finds and saves the young Ovi from his captures, Amir puts the city of Dhaka on lockdown, leading to Tyler and Ovi having to navigate their way through corrupt police and military figures as well as Amir’s young soldiers in order to escape and get Ovi to safety.
With Sam Hargrave’s stunt background, which had him working with the Russo Brothers from being Chris Evans’s stunt double in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then being stunt coordinator for their Avengers sequels Infinity War and Endgame, as well as his other stunt coordinating credits including Wolf Warrior 2 and Atomic Blonde, it’s no surprise that the films biggest selling point is its action sequences. Chris Hemsworth perfectly captures the essence of the one-man-army bruiser that the film is going for here, particularly in the scene in which he goes in to save young Ovi from his captors. The fight scenes are soaked in blood and violent ends, but the combat is so well choreographed, executed and captured by the stunt department and Hargrave. There’s one particular sequence that comes in the middle act, over ten minutes long, that is relentless in its pacing as we go from car chase, to foot chase and constant fighting amongst Tyler Rake, the cannon fodder, and Saju, Ovi’s father’s henchman, on the streets of Dhaka. The way its framed, the movement is captured, is to make it feel like a one-shot, but it’s still an impressive sequence. The climatic action sequence that takes place on a bridge is also well executed and had me caring about what happens to three key characters. The performances are solid for what’s required of them. Hemsworth carries the film as the brooding soldier of fortune that begins to feel concerned about the wellbeing of Ovi once the mission is complete. Randeep Hooda is also very good as Saju, a compelling character that serves as another antagonist to Tyler, but his journey is just as interesting to watch as the film progresses. Rudhrasksh Jaiswal is also good as young Ovi.
In terms of what goes against the films favour, as great as the action sequences are, you will feel the films runtime of almost two hours, especially when the film feels like it stalls with its quieter, character-building moments, as they’re pretty cliched and certain twists are telegraphed from a mile away. For an action film it helps to have a compelling antagonist and whilst there’s a memorable introductory scene of Amir Asif to solidify that he’s the main villain here and what power he holds, unfortunately Priyanshu Painyuli isn’t given a lot to do in the role. However, if your a film viewer that’s not a fan of excessive violence, then this film will not be for your viewing pleasure as there’s children being thrown off rooftops, brains shall be scattered, and yes, a head shall be put through a rake by Tyler Rake (90’s nostalgia in one-kill). One thing I would’ve loved to have seen further developed was the sub-plot between Amir Asif and that of Farhad, a young kid whose lured into becoming Amir’s latest child soldier.
As a one man army action vehicle that feels like a throwback to yesteryear, Extraction fulfils that promise of being exactly that and more with its very well choreographed and film action sequences, even though that the journey of the film is telegraphed and has a one-note villain.