Current Issue #488

Film Review:

First-time director Sam Hargrave’s extremely violent action epic has a strong, understated performance from Chris Hemsworth and moments of striking technical wizardry, but the guns, guns, guns and more guns get a bit tedious. 

Drawn from Andre Parks’ graphic novel Ciudad by screenwriter Joe Russo (who co-directed the last two Avengers movies with his brother Anthony), this is the début feature from longtime-pro-stuntman Hargrave, and he obviously favours in-camera fights and car chases instead of humdrum old CG stuff.

He even manages an 11-and-a-half minute sequence made to look as if it’s all done in a single unbroken take (a ‘oner’) – although it, of course, isn’t anything of the sort.

Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake (another only-in-the-movies name), a mercenary and former Australian Special Air Service Regiment type introduced chilling grimly in the Kimberley. He’s approached by colleague Nik Khan (acclaimed Iran-born actress Golshifteh Farahani) and half-unwillingly assigned to rescue/‘extract’ Ovi Mahajan Jr. (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), who was kidnapped one evening after sneaking out to a Dhaka nightclub.

Ovi Jr. is the teen son of incarcerated Indian drug lord Ovi Sr. (Pankaj Tripathi) and has been seized by young goons working for scary Bangladeshi drug lord Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli), and Tyler is taken straight to the kid when he first turns up in Dhaka and is promptly kidnapped himself. He then slays a roomful of nasties, and the rest of the running-time is taken up with him and Ovi breathlessly trying to escape an endless cavalcade of corrupt cops and assorted assassins amid more firepower than almost every Marvel movie put together.

The major ‘oner’ sequence is certainly impressive, as Hemsworth and Jaiswal are seen running like loons, driving and smashing a succession of vehicles, dashing in and out of houses belonging to a host of bewildered locals, variously killing dozens of extras and, in Hemsworth’s case, falling a few storeys and finally getting in a bit of weary slapping-about. Be warned though, because viewers who suffer from motion sickness and related issues could well wind up feeling more than a tad traumatised.

And then there’s our star, who works hard to make us forget Thor by portraying a character who sweats, grunts, swears and bleeds – a lot – as he takes on almost as many baddies as John Wick. It’s a subdued performance despite the intense physicality, and it’s pleasing to hear him shamelessly let loose with a good old ocker accent every now and then.

But in the end, after all that violence and ceaseless blokey shooting you might be left wondering whether another title might have been more appropriate: Exhaustion.

Reviewer Rating

Extraction (MA) is now streaming on Netflix

DM Bradley

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