AFTER ‘The Avengers’, Chris Evans discards his Captain American costume to do a serious drama on TV, “Defending Jacob”, where he plays a lawyer whose own son is accused of murder. In turn, Chris Hemsworth also sets aside his hammer as Thor to do a hard action flick, “Extraction”, now shown as a direct-to-Netflix release which turns out to be a very big hit.
The gist of the story has been done before, about someone who is tasked to guard or rescue a child, like Denzel Washington in “Man on Fire” (2004) that’s a remake of an earlier movie starring Scott Glenn in 1987, Benicio del Torre in “Sicario 2” and even Noomi Rapace in another Netflix actioner, “Close”.
In “Extraction”, Chris plays Tyler Rake, an Australian veteran in Afghanistan who is tasked to rescue the 14-year old son, Ovi Jr. (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), of an imprisoned Indian drug lord from Mumbai, Ovi Sr., who’s kidnapped by a rival Bangladeshi kingpin, Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli). Tyler succeeds in retrieving the boy who is held captive in Dhaka.
But things get complicated when Saju (Randeep Hooda), a former soldier who works for Ovi Sr., kills all of Tyler’s teammates to avoid paying them. Amir learns that the boy has escaped and orders the corrupt cops conniving with him to lock down all possible exits in the city with checkpoints.
Tyler is ordered by his contact, Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani), to forsake Ovi Jr. since they won’t get paid anyway and to just save himself. But Tyler refuses and decides to protect the boy at all cost. In the process, they are pursued not only by Saju but also by corrupt cops, soldiers, and a gang of boys led by Farqad, a young punk who wants to be in the good graces of Asif.
Tyler asks the help of a retired friend, Gaspar (David Harbour, the father of 11 in “Stranger Things”), who later on springs a surprise on him because of a ten million prize. Tyler then calls Saju for them to just join forces in saving the boy, leading to the slambang finale in a bridge where all the characters converge for an explosive climax.
As far as high octane and brutally spectacular action scenes are concerned, the movie delivers with its amazing stunt work and gratuitous scenes of violence that sometimes look like a video game. It also has a very high body count and seems to want to rival the “John Wick” franchise. The exotic location of Bangladesh is another plus (although we read that most of it was actually shot in Thailand), something we see on screen for the first time.
Hemsworth does justice to his role as the ultra-fearless Caucasian savior decimating stupid Asians, but he’s well-supported by the equally hardhitting Hooda as Saju and their one-on-one fight scene is one of the film’s exciting highlights.
The bonding scene of Hemsworth with his ward is surprisingly quite effective and touching, serving as an intermission gap to give viewers time to breathe in between all the chase sequences, shootouts and bone-crunching fight scenes that spice up the movie. There’s no room for wisecracks or one-liners here and it’s serious business all throughout for this directorial debut of stunt and fight coordinator Sam Hargrave who has worked with Hemsworth in his “Thor” movies.
The script is written by Joe Russo, who co-directed two “Avengers” movies. He based it on a graphic novel he co-wrote titled “Ciudad”. Hargrave shoots a stunning single shot action sequence here that pays tribute to Paul Greengrass’ “Bourne” flicks. It starts with a car chase and goes on with a chase scene by foot through hallways in a tenement building then a big hand-to-hand fight scene on a crowded street. The characters involved are seen jumping from one rooftop to another and the handheld camera also jumps to follow them.
It’s truly impressive but we’re sure they used some computer effects to help make it all look seamless as it must’ve been so exhausting for the cast and crew to do it all in one long take. But we’re not impressed with the way Hargrave starts the movie with a bang, as this style has been used several times before. He gets a climactic sequence near the end and begins the movie with it then tells the story chronologically, introducing us to Tyler as he jumps off a cliff and falls into a lake and sits on a lotus position under water like he’s meditating while holding his breath. But all in all, it’s one helluva a thrilling ride that adrenaline junkies will surely enjoy.