ESP’s film reviewer Gavin Miller can’t take a seat at the cinema so he’s settled on the sofa checking out the best of what’s streaming instead…
Chris Hemsworth follows in the footsteps of the likes of Ryan Reynolds (Six Underground), Will Smith (Bright) and Robert De Niro/Al Pacino (The Irishman) in finding value in the burgeoning Netflix brand – and in the process provides arguably their best original big-budget actioner yet.
Extraction is directed by the stunt co-ordinator for the last two Russo Brothers-helmed Avengers movies – who also produce this (as they did for 21 Bridges) – Sam Hargrave (who also cameos himself as part of Hemsworth’s covert team), and it’s not hard to see his input in some of the ultra-violent fight choreographs that involve the man who plays Thor in the Marvel films.
It’s basically part John Wick, part Jason Bourne, part Man on Fire, part Black Hawk Down – with some of Bollywood’s best actors thrown in – but mostly enjoyable without ever moving the genre needle.
In a typical scenario we’ve seen hundreds of times before, Hemsworth stars as alcoholic, medication-dependent black-market Aussie mercenary Tyler Rake – still mourning the loss of his boy to cancer several years earlier.
But when the son of Indian drug lord Ovi Mahajan (who is doing jail time), Ovi Junior (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) gets kidnapped by his Bangledeshi arch-enemy Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli), ex special forces soldier Saju (Randeep Hooda) is ordered to bring Ovi back safely home – with the family’s funds ‘frozen’ due to his incarceration – or his own son will be murdered.
So when Rake is recruited by fellow mercenary Nik Khan (Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge’s Golshifteh Farahani) to lead a team for the extraction, things go awry when Saju gets embroiled in the plot to use the mercenary team’s brawn – that leads to a battle for survival in the heart of Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.
Rake ends up (kinda) rescuing the young hostage, who is then courted by Saju, with Asif’s henchman and the country’s corrupt military and police force on their tail.
Even Stranger Things’ David Harbour is thrown in for a cameo as an ex-colleague of Rake’s too.
What this leads to is a generally taut and tense thriller as the Rake/Ovi duo bond, and they try and make it out alive against all odds – and there’s some very good action set pieces thrown in that would keep fans of the aforementioned Wick or Bourne very contented.
Hemsworth (who also produces) particularly continues to show he has legs beyond the MCU, and this glossy actioner proves to be a pretty good way of showcasing it – as it oozes solid production values throughout and doesn’t hold back on its bloody ‘18’ rating.
Extraction delivers an impressive cinematic hammer blow – without outstaying its welcome too long.
ESP Rating: 3.5/5
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, Golshifteh Farahani, Priyanshu Painyuli, Sam Hargrave & David Harbour
Running Time: 1 Hr 57 Mins
Director: Sam Hargrave