When a movie mercenary at the end of his rope is offered One Last Job, it’s never something relatively simple like making a ransom drop or leading the security detail for some crime lord fleeing the country.
Oh no. It’s always the kind of task that has his colleagues saying stuff like, “You know this is nearly impossible logistically and you’re walking to a death trap, right? This is a suicide mission, man!”
So it goes for Chris Hemsworth’s fantastically named Tyler Rake in “Extraction,” a sprawling, dust-covered, blood-spattered thriller that’s reminiscent of a “Bourne” movie without all the sophisticated trappings. This movie is all about hand-to-hand combat and extended set pieces, and first-time director Sam Hargrave does an admirable job of plunging us into the action in rarely seen filming locations such as Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Ban Pong and Dhaka. The result is a thoroughly satisfying thriller with some creative dramatic touches and a perfect ending, and I’ll say no more about that ending so as to not even hint at spoiling it.
“Extraction” starts with the classic end-at-the-beginning sequence, in which we see Hemsworth’s Tyler Rake covered with blood, stumbling, seemingly down for the count. At this point we have no idea who this man is and how he got here, so … cue the title card saying: “MUMBAI, INDIA, 2 DAYS AGO.”
Rukhraksh Jaiswal is Ovi, the teenage son of an imprisoned drug lord and Randeep Hooda is Saju, the consigliere and former special ops soldier assigned to keep watch over Ovi. But one night, Ovi sneaks out to a club to meet his friends, and before the night is over, Ovi’s best friend has been assassinated and Ovi has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom by his father’s rival, the biggest crime lord in Bangladesh.
Cut to Western Australia, where a booze-soaked Tyler Rake has dropped out of life and is living with his pet chicken in a ramshackle hideaway. Enter the beautiful and mysterious Nik (Golshifteh Farahani), who is dressed like she’s on the Riviera and clearly has a past with Tyler, and offers him that aforementioned suicide-mission opportunity: Go to Bangladesh, take out the dozen or so heavily armed henchmen guarding Ovi, and pull off the extraction, i.e., get the kid back home.
What follows is a steady stream of thrilling action sequences, including one extended piece where the camera trails Tyler and Ovi as they weave their way through an apartment complex and Tyler takes out one bad dude after another. Chris Hemsworth still has that imposing Thor physique, but Tyler bleeds and his bones break and he’s busted inside and out after numerous fights. He’s an anti-hero, not a superhero. Hemsworth also has some nice dramatic moments when he’s hiding out with Ovi and begins to open up a little, and when he reconnects with an old mercenary pal, played to cameo perfection by David Harbour.
Even though “Extraction” is far different in tone from the Marvel movies, “Avengers” alums drive this film, from Hemsworth to screenwriter Joe Russo to director Hargrave, a former stunt coordinator and double for Chris “Captain America” Evans and second-unit director on “Infinity War.” This time around, the trio has teamed up for a visually impressive, action-packed, heavily armed thriller.
It’s a shame this real crowd-pleaser won’t be playing to crowds, but it still works as a Friday night, pop-the-popcorn, living room entertainment.