Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Randeep Hooda, Rudraksh Jaiswal, Priyanshu Painyuli, Pankaj TripathiDirector: Sam Hargrave
A couple of big names from the Marvel Cinematic Universe were involved with Extraction, earlier called Dhaka, and thus it was likely to be high on action. However, imaginatively choreographed action scenes have come with an old caveat that it takes a white Australian mercenary to pull a poor South East Asian kid out of a death trap.
You know what’s funnier? That there is an equally capable and trigger-happy Indian guy, whose character is almost as cynical as the white saviour, playing second fiddle despite knowing the terrains better than our Western friend. Anyway, more about it later. First the basic storyline.
Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the teenage son of an Indian drug lord, played by Pankaj Tripathi, is kidnapped and kept in Dhaka on the orders of Bangladesh’s own ‘Pablo Escobar’ Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli). Saju (Randeep Hooda), under pressure from Ovi’s father, decides to seek help from a foreign mercenary Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), but the rescue mission is tougher than what he imagined initially.
With a customary ‘welcome to Dhaka’ dialogue, director Sam Hargrave makes us visit the illegal drug trafficking scene in Bangladesh a la City of God, but the scenes get a lift only after Painyuli arrives. The contrast between his calmness and menacing actions works in his favour, but by then Hemsworth has already killed half of the most crowded street of Dhaka.
Truth be told, his only mission seems to be playing PUBG, only with real people. If he threatened Painyuli of dire consequences by gunning down only half a dozen guards, he would have happily released the kid. Why mess with such an irrational guy!
After a while, it seems we are trapped in between two sides whose only motive is to kill more people. There are choppers crossing international borders and waters without any hesitation and qualms. The security forces are openly facilitating the criminals without worrying much about the international relations.
On second thoughts, Extraction is a template ‘kind-hearted’ mercenary film. All the typical tropes of such films are there. Hemsworth has a predictable backstory that he would cry over during his hideout interaction with the kidnapped boy. He is, of course, doing it to avoid the ghosts of his past and not money. And to top it all, there is another white friend from his past at the centre of action. Everybody needs help after all.
We have seen similar films, both in Hollywood and Hindi.
The only point at which Extraction, which has screenplay by Joe Russo, could have redeemed itself was in hand to hand combat scenes. Thankfully, those scenes work.
The emotional quotient of the film definitely needs a hike. Most of the primary actors appear to be working in isolation. For example, Randeep Hooda’s character required a lot more depth but it has been compromised in order to kill more people during a sad bridge battle focusing on Hemsworth’s hot headedness.
Rudhraksh Jaiswal’s innocence is perceptible, but everything from his name to the heavy-duty dialogues given to him screams of detached writing. Had the little boy not been a good actor, it could have been a disaster in making.
Coming back to Painyuli, for the sincerely charming actor of Bhavesh Joshi Superhero and Upstarts, it’s a chance that he grabbed with both hands. For every faltering Hargrave move, he turns out to be a cushion in the know-how of the proceedings.
Sam Hargrave, stunt coordinator of Captain America-Civil War and Avengers-Endgame, faces the dilemma of choosing between hardcore action and emotional support till Hemsworth decides to go all out with his bazookas and rocket launchers.
For a 117-minute film, there are too many distractions in Extraction that forces the audience to look away and not appreciate Hemworth’s world famous handsomeness.
Interaction with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha