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Thursday, June 4, 2020

‘Extraction’ – Bangladeshi Bonanza

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Ben Nietzel
Ben Nietzel
Ben Nietzel works as the principal of Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School. He also enjoys coaching Muskie football and reviewing movies.

In “Extraction,” mercenary Tyler Rack is tasked with rescuing a drug lord’s kidnapped son from his bitter rival.

Pro – Old story, fresh paint

There is not much original in “Extraction,” a new film offering from Netflix. Suicide mission against all odds, check. Greek God hero with a tortured soul who finds a chance at redemption, check. Waves of nondescript bad (?) guys to punch, shoot, and kick, check. It is all formulaic.

What helps “Extraction” rise above though is the details. Set primarily in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the scenery is fresh and new to most American viewers. The cast is primarily South Asian, and while many are stars of Bollywood, they will seem new to most Americans. Even the lead is Australian. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) stars, and really crushes it as Tyler Rack. Hemsworth has the looks and size to pull off the action hero, but he also has the acting chops to carry the emotional weight of a film. Randeep Hooda is great as Saju, the loyal under-boss also trying to save Ovi Mahajan, the kidnapped boy. Rudhraksh Jaiswal plays Ovi, and also turns in a strong performance.

Pro – Big Action

“Extraction” is heavy on action. Bullets and punches fly in most scenes, and once the movie heats up it rarely relents. The action is incredible throughout as it sprawls from boats to jungles to urban centers. Director Sam Hargrave uses a lot of close-up camera angles to pull the audience right into the action. There is an eleven-minute action sequence that is truly edge of the seat stuff. Some of the stunts are so well executed it will leave the audience wondering just how they did that. Platitudes aside, it should be noted “Extraction” is not for the faint of heart. Death, blood, and gore lurk around every corner and clearly less is more was never an approach considered on set.

Con – Suspension of Disbelief

As often communicated in this column, a big part of enjoying movies is appreciating them within the logic of the world they construct. To that end, it’s easy to buy into the super-human level of skills and resilience shown by Tyler Rake and Saju during the film. What’s less easy to stomach is that in a setting that is clearly meant to imitate real life, the amount of resources and power wielded by Bangladeshi Drug Lord Amir Asif, played by Priyanshu Painyuli. The amount of men, police, and firepower he wields is laughable at times, as is that of Rack’s black-ops mercenary cell. It all makes for an exciting film, but at the expense of an occasional eye roll.

“Extraction” is an action-packed punch to the face that feels every bit the Hollywood blockbuster. Hemsworth shines and bullets fly. The cast is excellent, and they, as well as, the setting will feel fresh and exciting to American audiences. Add to the mix that the film is streaming free to anyone with a Netflix account, and it’s a home run way to spend a night at home. It is certainly outlandish at times, but it is worth noting that its ridiculousness is also what propels much of its excitement. Buckle into your coach and hold on for an exciting ride.

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