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  Extraction Bored To Death
Year: 2020
Director: Sam Hargrave
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Golshifteh Farahani, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, David Harbour, Shivam Vichare, Piyush Khati, Pankaj Tripathi, Chris Jai Alex, Adam Bessa, Wayne Blair, Rayna Campbell, Vonzell Carter, Shataf Figar, Patrick Newall, Sam Hargrave
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: It was just another day for Ovi Mahajan (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the teenage son of this Indian gangster, who lives a privileged life thanks to his father's ill-gotten gains but is not necessarily enjoying all the freedoms he would prefer. Yet that evening, after being contacted by his schoolfriends, he did go out to a club where he and another pal were confronted by a man posing as a cop; he was not, though, and before Ovi knew what was happening his friend was shot dead and he was kidnapped. The gangster does not take this well, and calls in his fixer to rescue the boy on pain of death, so there is only one man to call on: Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), mercenary extraordinaire and man of action.

With the coronavirus causing quarantines across the world, many looked to Netflix to provide some respite from home-based isolation, but while some enjoyed Extraction's very basic idea of what an action flick should be, there were just as many wondering if this was really the best they could bring to a captive audience? Especially in Bangladesh, particularly its city Dhaka, which was purported to be portrayed extensively in the film yet was not Dhaka as any of the Bangladeshis recognised it. This was down to the location shooting having been carried out in India's Bengal, so aside from a brief bit of drone stock footage to show a little of the place from a great height, they were nowhere near it.

Thus anyone in Bangladesh firing up their Netflix app was immediately outraged and took to the internet to voice their displeasure (now the traditional form of worldwide protest in the twenty-first century): the filmmakers had made Dhaka look like a crime-ridden dump, with an incompetent and corrupt security force as well. Now, Extraction was an American movie, and Hollywood has not been known for its pinpoint accuracy in its depiction of places around the world, historically or current, so you had to expect this would come with the territory, but even the "it's only a movie" brigade would have to admit sometimes they got it very wrong. Mind you, its issues were not merely geographical.

The production's fans would point to its action sequences as the real highlight, as well they might with the Russo Brothers involved, but they were couched in acres of tedious, mumbled dialogue that progressed the plot not one jot. From the prologue we know Tyler is probably dying, making this his life flashing before his eyes, if you were being artistically generous, yet that also had the tone of the piece as so funereal that there was a general feeling of utter apathy. So much so that unless you were a huge fan of this Hemsworth, there was nothing to keep you interested, as even the much touted action was filmed through a piss yellow filter of murk to denote thick, Third World grime, a cheerless experience doing nobody any favours whatsoever.

Not offering Hemsworth any funny lines may have been a deliberate decision as we were meant to take this very seriously, apparently, but it was fatal to any enjoyment: there's a reason James Bond started the art of the post-mortem quip, you really have to have a contrast somehow or else your movie is going to be a real grind. Therefore while this served the more humourless action fan who refuses to see the absurdity in what they enjoy as part and parcel of why it is so enjoyable, for everyone else our hero looked like he was about to turn his weapon on himself at any moment, so dejected was he. Bangladeshis assuredly had a motive not to appreciate it, not least the message that their security forces are entirely expendable as they dropped like ninepins in the barrage of bullets aimed their way (typically, they cannot land a shot on Tyler), but there was not much reason for anyone else to like Extraction either, it was just painfully dull. Music by Alex Belcher and Henry Jackman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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