Monday, 30th October 2017

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Extraction, that drops on Netflix tomorrow, is an action-packed ride that qualifies as a decent one-time watch

Your ears do tend to perk up a little when you hear the familiar language- Bangla

  • Published 23.04.20, 11:27 AM
  • Updated 23.04.20, 11:27 AM
  • 3 mins read
Chris Hemsworth with Rudhraksh Jaiswal in 'Extraction' Still from the show

There’s as much Bangla going around in Extraction as there is English... sometimes, even more. That’s not very surprising, given that the film is set almost wholly in Bangladesh (Extraction was earlier titled ‘Dhaka’). While the relentless action keeps your eyes glued to the screen, your ears do tend to perk up a little when you hear the familiar language. Well, the accent and dialect may be a tad different, but the cuss words — and there’s a lot of it in Extraction — are essentially the same. And yes, even Chris Hemsworth spouts a sentence or two in Bangla, in his own voice. Thor speaking in my language?! Well, how’s that for cheap thrills!

Hemsworth frontlines this Sam Hargrave (Hargrave was the second unit director on Avengers) Netflix film that drops on the streaming service tomorrow, and has Avengers men Joe and Anthony Russo doing producer duties. The source material for Extraction is the comic book Ciudad, a joint effort of the Russos, Ande Parks and Fernando Leon Gonzalez. Hemsworth stars as Tyler Rake, a mercenary with a lump-in-the-throat-inducing past (the film early on tells us that Tyler takes on risky jobs fervently hoping that some bullet out there has his name on it), who travels to Dhaka to rescue (or rather, extract... in return for big bucks) the kidnapped son of an Indian drug lord. Ovi Mahajan (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) is a bright 14-year-old who has to pay for his father’s (played by Pankaj Tripathi) crimes and soon, we have Tyler landing up at the den of Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli), described as “Dhaka’s Pablo Escobar” to extricate Ovi.

Action is the selling point of Extraction. Hardcore, in your face and often stomach churning, the film converts the screen into a war zone and mounts one jaw-dropping action set piece after another. Newton Thomas Sigel’s camera is an active participant in the proceedings, feverishly running behind Tyler as he sprays bullets without mercy. Brains are blown out, cars are blown up and Hargrave, who is an action man himself, ensures that you feel the adrenaline rush no matter how small a screen you may be watching the film on. While the action is consistently top notch, we single out two scenes for the kind of impact they manage to create. First is the almost 10-minute boom-bang-whack-thwack piece that follows when Tyler manages to rescue Ovi and the two make a run through the lanes and bylanes of Dhaka (the film’s mostly been shot in India and Thailand, though) even as their enemies pursue them relentlessly. The second is an action scene shot towards the end of the film, a raw and visceral combat scene atop a bridge that instantly reminds one of a similar scene in Mission: Impossible III.

What largely works for Extraction is the fact that it manages to retain a strong emotional core even when the plot is driven largely by action. Tyler and Ovi strike an emotional bond that sees the mercenary willing to pull out all the stops to keep the boy safe even when he knows he’s been played. Hemsworth shares an organic chemistry with the wide-eyed Rudhraksh Jaiswal and the interactions between the two (“You don’t look like a Tyler... you look like a Brad,” the boy tells him with a smile when he hears his name for the first time) are heart-warming.

Predictability is, however, a major problem with the film. The story never really progresses beyond its flimsy one-line premise and Tyler’s soul-searching journey isn’t afforded the emotional depth and screen time it deserves. Extraction throws up no surprises, but the film does get it right when it comes to its authentic milieu, from the overcrowded streets of Dhaka to the dingy cheek-by-jowl houses. Authenticity also marks its language, with characters hailing from the subcontinent being allowed to speak in Hindi and Bangla without having to conform to mouthing their lines in English in what is essentially a Hollywood production.

Ultimately, Extraction, despite its flaws, is worth a watch because of its performances. Hemsworth, rakish and handsome, is the film’s beating heart, with Tyler’s tired and grief-stricken eyes staying on with you long after the screen goes blank. Rudhraksh Jaiswal matches Hemsworth beat for beat, churning out an act that’s beyond his years. Randeep Hooda, as the morally ambiguous Saju, excels in both the action and emotional scenes, while Priyanshu Painyuli brings in the right amount of depravity to his character. Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani shines in the limited scope she gets, while David Harbour — the man we love as Hopper in Stranger Things — pitches in with a memorable cameo.

Extraction is an action ride that qualifies as a decent one-time watch. Watch it on as big a screen as possible for that big shot of adrenaline in these lazy lockdown days.

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