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"EXTRACTION"
(2020) (Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal) (R)


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QUICK TAKE:
Action: A mercenary attempts to rescue a high profile criminal's teenage son who's been kidnapped by a rival drug lord.
PLOT:

Ovi Mahajan Jr. (RUDHRAKSH JAISWAL) is the teenage son of a powerful criminal (PANKAJ TRIPATHI) who's currently in prison in Mumbai. Despite having a plethora of bodyguards led by Saju (RANDEEP HOODA), Ovi is nonetheless a high profile target for his father's rivals. And when the boy sneaks out for an evening of fun with his friends, men posing as cops working for drug lord Amir Asif (PRIYANSHU PAINYULI) kill one of them and kidnap Ovi.

His father orders Saju to steal the boy back, but at the same time, a group of high-tech mercenaries who specialize in such matters is also hired to rescue the boy. And the lead for that is Tyler Rake (CHRIS HEMSWORTH) a former military man turned highly efficient but troubled soldier of fortune. Arriving in the crowded city of Dhaka, Bangladesh where Asif operates, Tyler sets out to extract the boy with the help of his associates including Nik Khan (GOLSHIFTEH FARAHANI).

But it turns out freeing the boy from his kidnappers is the easy part, what with Asif controlling the police and parts of the military and thus shutting down all ways out of the city, while also employing kids such as teenager Farhad (SURAJ RIKAME) to find the mercenary. With help from his former fellow soldier, Gaspar (DAVID HARBOUR), Tyler goes into survival mode as things continue to turn sideways for him and his goal.

OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10

It's sometimes weird to review a movie in relation to the context of the times in which it was released. After all, films should be able not only to stand the test of time, but also stand apart from the era in which they first beamed their way into viewers' eyes, minds and hopefully hearts.

Yet, one's reaction to such a release certainly will be impacted by what's occurring in the outside world. That's especially true if whatever the situation might be is unprecedented in the lives of most people, resulting in feelings of being scared, angry, trapped and/or simply needing to get out any number of frustrations, even if just vicariously.

If that sounds apropos for the COVID-19 world in which we now all exist -- at least as of the date of this writing -- then "Extraction" might be exactly what the movie doctor ordered. That is, as long as you don't mind the decidedly R-rated material. But if you're game for that and need to watch a hero or two do their thing and deliver a heaping helping of violent comeuppance, you might just enjoy -- or at least be distracted for about two hours by -- what the film has to offer.

In terms of story, it's clearly not the most novel thing you're ever going to see. As penned by Joe Russo -- one-half of the Russo brothers who've delivered mega-blockbuster Marvel hits such as "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and the last two "Avengers" films -- the plot -- based on the graphic novel "Ciudad" -- is simple and straightforward. The teenage son (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) of an imprisoned crime lord is kidnapped by those working for a rival drug kingpin (Priyanshu Painyuli) in Mumbai and whisked off to the capital city of Bangladesh.

While the convict's right-hand man (Randeep Hooda) is tasked with "stealing" the boy back, a mercenary team headed up by Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) and Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani) is hired to do the same. And just as one has come to expect from such flicks, our hero is of the troubled sort, as seen by his devil-may-care attitude of jumping off a high cliff after drinking, and hazy and partial views of someone at the beach that we easily figure is no longer in his picture.

Despite that, he's up for the job and from that point on the bullets, grenades, rockets, fists and more fly with highly targeted precision. But also seemingly reckless abandon under the guidance of director Sam Hargrave (making his feature film debut) who benefits from Hemsworth's muscular performance, the ever-fluid camera in the "hands" of cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, editors Ruthie Aslan and Peter B. Ellis and the entire stunt team.

There's nothing here we haven't seen in previous such flicks, and yes, it's been done better before. Yet, as a visceral experience it works quite well. The action sequences are staged and executed so expertly that they should engage viewers currently wrestling with any number of pent-up, stay-at-home issues and allow for a cathartic release of at least some of them. And if anything, it should get people desirous of Farahani, in a barely fleshed out supporting role here, becoming an action star of her own.

Until then, this is Hemsworth's pic and he delivers exactly what's expected and then some. And if "Extraction" ends up helping extract any number of negative emotions from viewers, then that's all the better. While clearly not for all viewers, and certainly not reinventing the action movie wheel, I enjoyed the diversion and distraction the flick provided and thus rate it as a 6.5 out of 10.




Reviewed April 21, 2020 / Posted April 24, 2020


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