Saturday, January 16, 2021

FILM REVIEW: Extraction

Chris Hemsworth starrer Extraction reminds VINAYAK CHAKRAVORTY of old Hindi action dramas where logic is thrown out the window while setting the hero up as a portrait of machismo

Reading Time: 3 minutes
FILM REVIEW: Extraction

Extraction (Netflix)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Randeep Hooda, Pankaj Tripathi, Priyanshu Painyuli

- Advertisement -

Directed by: Sam Hargrave

Rating: * * and 1/2 (two and a half stars)

Extraction may be billed as a high-octane action film, but a lot of its stunts would remind you of old-school Bollywood. For a change, this is not so much about contemporary Hollywood CGI razzle as it is about vintage Mumbai action masala. In this film, Thor comes to India – to Bangladesh, according to the script, but it’s Ahmedabad that’s being passed off as Dhaka.

Avengers director duo Anthony and Joe Russo, who co-produce this film with Hemsworth and action choreographer-turned-filmmaker Sam Hargrave, have gone for more than just locations while delivering an Indian feel. Driven by the clear intention of cashing in on violence, they haven’t bothered to check on the subcontinent’s socio-cultural nuances (so typically Hollywood, isn’t it). Ahmedabad simply does not look like Dhaka, never mind the deliberately done Bengali hoardings and occasional Bengali lines thrown in.

The film won’t disappoint action buffs, though. It is unabashedly unidimensional in situations, plot and characters despite a backdrop that could have been tapped to create a smart socio-political thriller. Instead, the effort never deviates from its intention of being a loud stunt fest and little else.
Joe Russo’s screenplay draws from a graphic novel that he once co-authored, titled Ciudad. While the drama in the book is based in the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este, the film transfers the story to Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka (incidentally, the film was originally titled “Dhaka”, too).
The plot is basic. Ovi (Rudraksh Jaiswal), the teenage son of a jailed drug lord (Pankaj Tripathi in a blink-and-miss role) is kidnapped by the gangster Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli). Hemsworth as the mercenary Tyler Rake is hired for a whopping sum to bring the boy back.
Extraction operates on a nebulous kidnapping that is never explained, as if Joe Russo saw too many old Hindi action dramas of the eighties and nineties before writing this screenplay, where you throw logic out the window while setting up the hero as a portrait of machismo.

Clearly, stunt director-turned-film director Hargrave gave more attention to a highlight 12-minute action sequence filmed on Hemsworth than storytelling details.
Indeed, Tyler the hero goes to places where even Thor the superhero wouldn’t imagine – in the domain of the hardcore commercial Bollywood. He acquires infallible swag as he bashes up a dozen baddies singlehandedly, and spectacularly goes about his mission. Oh, and he is lonely too, as brooding men of action normally are. Just for the heck of it, they might have given Hemsworth a love story too, and some naach-gaana!
Pankaj Tripathi is wasted, Randeep Hooda gets a few scenes of note as an action star, and those who dig world cinema will be disappointed with the raw deal Golshifteh Farahani gets. Perhaps only Hemsworth fans won’t be disappointed. Extraction is a package tailor-made for the hunky superstar (it is his co-production, after all.)
India, more than most other parts, regularly gets to savour the best of latest action flicks. For Netflix, coming up with a formulaic action movie that looks decades old, would seem like a calculated risk. By lockdown logic, though, the film should be good enough to sail through.

READ ALSO: REVIEW: Hasmukh (Netflix)

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

lilly singh

WATCH: Lilly Singh’s rivalry with her overachieving ‘cousin’, Kamala Harris

  "Growing up I always got compared to my Indian cousins," shares Lilly Singh, reminding us of those unforgettable sibling rivalries we've all experiences at...
Udaya wentworthville

Reopening after being a COVID exposure site

  "We did not have a clue, because the customer was asymtopmatic." Since the news of popular spots Saravanaa Bhavan and Udaya supermarket being COVID exposure...
meeting op nayyar (1)

Why OP Nayyar continues to be this fan’s favourite musician

  I am an ardent admirer of O P Nayyar’s music. Anyone who knows me well, knows of my love for Indian film music from...

5 powerful poems by the brilliant Javed Akhtar

  A celebrated lyricist and the recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for his poetry, Javed Akhtar's name is synonymous with soul-wrenching, evocative writing.  His...
dog swami video

WATCH: Dog ‘blesses’ devotees outside temple in India

  In a now viral video, a dog stationed outside the Siddhivinayak Temple in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra was spotted shaking hands and 'blessing' devotees as they...