In the picture

May 10, 2020

Extraction aims to please fans of mindless action while doing little else.


Staring: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, Golshifteh Farahani, Pankaj Tripathi, Priyanshu Painyuli, and David Harbour

Directed by: Sam Hargrave

Were it not for the COVID-19 shutdown, we’d now be in the midst of the summer movie season, enjoying a slew of big screen action blockbusters at the cinema. But with the lockdown still on-going, we have to instead make do with small screen entertainment via streaming services.

It’s a good thing then that Netflix has decided to deliver an action flick right to our living rooms. It’s unfortunate, however, that this thriller has turned out to be as disappointing as Extraction.

Helmed by Sam Hargrave (best known for his work as an MCU stunt coordinator, making his directorial debut here) with a screenplay by Joe Russo (i.e. one half of the Russo Brothers), the film is built on a simplistic premise with problematic racial undertones. The well-orchestrated action scenes are its only saving grace.

Chris Hemsworth stars as Tyler Rake, an Australian mercenary on a mission to rescue Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the son of an incarcerated Indian drug lord (Pankaj Tripathi). The child has been kidnapped by a rival Bangladeshi crime boss (Priyanshu Painyuli) who somehow has the entire law enforcement on his payroll. Rake and his team are hired by Ovi’s father’s henchman Saju (Randeep Hooda). But unable to come up with the payment for the extraction, Saju double-crosses the mercenaries, further complicating a dangerous mission. Pretty much non-stop skirmishes – some of them very well executed – thereby ensue.

Hemsworth is competent as an action hero, even though the role is basically just business as usual for the actor; the part doesn’t really require him to try anything different or show a side we haven’t seen before. Hooda, too, is well cast as Saju, but were the story tweaked a little, Saju – who seems as capable at combat as Rake – could have easily made a more compelling protagonist than the Aussie. Instead, we are left with a white hero decimating an army of Asians who are invariably portrayed as corrupt or criminal. In this day and age, you really expect filmmakers to do better.

The movie loses points not just for its regressive outlook, but also for its underdeveloped plot, with a basic storyline so dull and predictable that it lacks excitement despite all the conflict.

Extraction ultimately proves that a handful of well-shot action sequences can’t compensate for shortcomings in the storytelling department. Turn off your brain (and your sense of political correctness) and expect no inventiveness if you want to be entertained by this undemanding thriller, because if you are in the mood for some mindless action, then Extraction certainly fits the bill. But if you expect something more from your viewing experience – like interesting characters, creative plotting, thematic depth, or intriguing twists – then this excessively violent outing is likely to leave you disappointed.

Rating system:  ★Not on your life ★ ½ If you really must waste your time ★★ Hardly worth the bother ★★ ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only 

★★★ Good enough for a look see ★★★ ½ Recommended viewing ★★★★ Don’t miss it ★★★★ ½ Almost perfect ★★★★★ Perfection

In the picture