HOLLYWOOD—I had heard plenty of buzz about the Netflix film “Extraction” starring Chris Hemsworth, and because of the buzz I thought I would give the film a shot. Little did I know that the movie would be as intense, action-packed and the one thing I didn’t expect: full of heart. This honestly may be one of the best performances of Hemsworth’s career. It is layered, gripping and the actor shows a tremendous level of range not seen by him before on the screen (big or small) people.
Many of us cinema buffs haven’t gotten the opportunity to invade the multiplex much this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic, but man this is indeed a movie that while satisfying as hell on the small screen, would be that much powerful on the big screen. It reminded me greatly of the Denzel Washington flick “Man on Fire.” You have this one man, Tyler Rake (Hemwsworth) going above and beyond to ensure not only to the rescue this teen in trouble, but ensure the survival of Ovi Mahajan Jr. (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) who is kidnapped by a powerful drug lord Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli) from Bangladesh.
The irony that “Extraction” presents is not the fact that Ovi is a pawn, but a power player at the same time. He’s up for ransom and there is a direct attack on his father who happens to be the biggest drug lord in India. So Asif is looking to diminish the power that his rival, Ovi Mahajan Sr. (Pankaj Tripathi) has to ensure his empire doesn’t take any more hits. The character is not a menace as a villain as one would hope. I barely recall if he actually spoke during the movie, he just had very powerful people in his orbit doing his business for him.
The movie really presents a frightening element to the world of drugs. While some think there is little impact in society, its grip is far reaching as this movie depicts. Not just culturally, but globally. Mahajan Jr. is seen as such a liability that people who you think should protect him are willing to sell their souls to the Devil to ensure the kid is captured or worse: killed. It is scary and as a viewer that is the one element that continued to draw me into the narrative. Screenwriter Joe Russo, you might know that name because he’s the guy who played a role in scripting many of the Marvel “Captain America” movies, does a fantastic job of giving the audience doses of these characters and their backstory.
We learn a little about Tyler in the beginning, more in the middle and then it sort of comes full circle near the climax why he is so driven to protecting this kid’s survival even if it means he’ll lose his life in the process. Jaiswal brings a level of sincerity and maturity to a character, which the audience will root for, but we become truly enamored and invested in this character.
Director Sam Hargrave does a tremendous job balancing the act of an action-packed somewhat war flick, with a drama that is violent, visceral and sometimes haunting as you watch it. The visual blue print of the city of Dhaka delivered to the viewer is wonderful to witness. The grittiness of the slums, to the opulence that is so stark in a shear distance is a reminder that it’s like that in many towns all across America. You sometimes wish there was a slice of the wealth pie to dose out to everyone.
“Extraction” is a film that you have a preconceived notion of what you’re getting when you enter the multiplex, but you soon discover so much more that actually lingers with you far after the movie has ended.