CHENNAI: With the world bruised and battered from an unimaginable pandemic, and with cinemas shuttered, now seems to be the time of the streaming giants, with films that are wonderfully varied and catering to just about every taste. Netflix’s latest offering is “Extraction,” a debut directorial effort by Sam Hargrave, who is better known as a stunt coordinator for Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The film is high on adrenaline, with an eleven-and-a-half minute single take of pure action, guns blazing, bullets whizzing, knives and chases. There is never a dull moment: Imagine a ceaseless car chase that turns into one on foot, climaxing in a hand-to-hand combat. Hargrave is undoubtedly high on creativity, and he displays an extraordinary skill for building tension, which is sometimes laced with humor. And he gets the best out of his actors.
The hero of the “Thor” franchise, Chris Hemsworth, stars as a ruthless mercenary, Tyler Rake. Assigned to free an Indian drug lord Ovi Mahajan Senior (Pankaj Tripathi) school-going son, Ovi Mahajan Junior (Rudraksh Jaiswal), from a notorious Bangladesh criminal, Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli), Hemsworth reaches Dhaka (although the movie was shot mostly in India, and the film’s earlier title was “Dhaka”) followed by the boy’s personal bodyguard, Saju (Randeep Hooda). Writer Joe Russo deftly weaves into the plot of Saju’s life with his family of wife and little son, as he does Rake’s earlier, personal tragedy. And for some sparkle, “Extraction” introduces the brilliant actress Golshifteh Farahani as Nik Khan, a mercenary and Rake’s partner.
After great performances in “Chicken with Plums,” “About Elly,” “The Patience Stone” and “The Song of Scorpions,” Farahani has precious little to do in Hargrave’s adventure, except shoot down a helicopter. The scenes of battles in Dhaka are exciting, with Saju and Rake often engaging in one-on-one fights, each trying to beat the other for the bounty on Mahajan Junior’s head. Caught in the midst of all this, struggling and suffering, is the boy, and we get a genuinely warm performance from Jaiswal. Clinging to dear life, he gravitates toward Rake, hoping that the man will help him get home.There are some tender moments between the two, when Rake feels a sense of fatherly affection toward the boy.
Despite all this, “Extraction” may resemble something of a B-lister by being released in this manner, with studios not releasing their more prized movies, hoping that cinemas will open in July or August.