3 out of 5 stars
The Russo Brothers have made a quiet entry back into the world of film making with behind the scenes credits in producing and writing. This follows the massive run as some of the most successful directors with their standard-setting films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is probably a smart move to keep their names active in the industry, while not trying to live up to the expectations set by their landmark Avengers films.
Their latest project has them sharing producing credits with one of their mates from the MCU, Chris Hemsworth. The actor turned producer has managed to find his place behind and in front of the camera. With Joe Russo adapting the script from the comic Ciudad and Sam Hargrave, the former stunt coordinator from the Marvel films, in the director’s chair. The Avengers alumni are back to provide their interpretation of the action-adventure to Netflix.
The operation centres on the kidnapping of the son of India's biggest drug lord, Ovi Mahajan Sr. (Pankaj Tripathi) by Bangladesh’s drug kingpin, Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli). This international incident leads to the establishment of a unique need to extract the boy and return him to his family. This type of mission can only be considered by black market mercenaries, specifically Tyler Rake, played by Hemsworth. Despite working through the death of his own son, the specially trained warrior manages to find the boy, but the biggest challenge was to come. Getting Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) out of Bangladesh.
Rake must overcome the corrupt forces of the local police force, Asif’s underground gangs and the Mahajan’s chief henchman. Saju (Randeep Hooda) is a former Special Forces soldier who was supposed to protect the Indian drug lord’s son. His family is threatened unless he is the first to retrieve the boy and bring him back to India. This combination of players delivers a rapid-fire tour through the streets of Dhaka that includes a multitude of bullets, knives, bombs and fights along the way.
Netflix and the Russos seem to be taking from the John Wick playbook by putting a former stunt coordinator in the director’s chair. Sam Hargrave proves that action can convey a thousand words with the emphasis being on hard-hitting action as opposed to clever dialogue. Extraction has the look and feel of the latest combat video game with Chris Hemsworth shooting more weapons than most armies in the world own. The director takes full advantage of his action star and manages to incorporate Hemsworth's comedic timing and brooding method for the few words that are added into the screenplay. Hargrave also manages to provide an empathetic view of Hooda’s role, which adds an unexpected caveat into the escape plan.
What many may come to quickly realise is that the story inhabits this area of the world. The script and principle filming all occur on the subcontinent with a short interlude in The Kimberleys of Australia. With the use of the colours and densely populated nature of some of these settings, Hargraves manages to capture the immersive feel that was needed to complement this adventure. Noting that the use of the word script is used lightly, because the majority of the film comes down to action sequences that are briefly connected by dialogue. A film that provides this video game generation with enough violence to keep their short attention spans engaged. It also fills the need of all the Chris Hemsworth fans with more screen time of their favourite Aussie action star.
REEL DIALOGUE: What is it about kidnapping that is so evil?
You shall love your neighbour as yourself. - Matthew 22:39
Kidnapping is considered one of the most egregious sins against society. It has been an unfortunate part of the human experience throughout history. The realities of the Extraction are played out on Facebook feeds or on the latest daily newscast. A horror that no parent wants to experience or person should have to endure.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, it was a crime that would have been punishable by death, ranked in association with murder. In the words of Jesus, this topic is addressed broadly by his second commandment, Love your neighbour as yourself. It would be hard to find anyone who would not see that kidnapping is an abomination.
Other passages that address kidnapping: Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7, 1 Timothy 1:9-10