Mumbai, 27 Apr 2020 13:18 IST
While Sam Hargrave's film delivers the explosive action, it fails to put up a solid enough antagonist to match the heroics of its lead.
Indian actors, all too often, have been reduced to bit parts in large Hollywood productions. But when Randeep Hooda and Chris Hemsworth get it on in the middle of a Dhaka firefight, Hooda gives as good as he gets. The Indian actor finds himself given the rare opportunity of a meaty role in Sam Hargraves action-entertainer, that is only let down by the lack of emotional depth and a strong enough villain.
The story begins with the kidnapping of Ovi Mahajan (Rudraksh Jaiswal), the son of a powerful drug lord Ovi Mahajan Sr (Pankaj Tripathi) in Mumbai. Ovi is taken to Dhaka, Bangaldesh by Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli), his father's professional rival. Cue Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth), a down and depressed mercenary, who picks on the big bounty to rescue Ovi back from Dhaka. Except, unknown to Tyler, Saju (Randeep Hooda), Mahajan's loyal soldier, is also on the hunt for the boy.
Hargrave's film is heavy on the action, as expected, but does not lack flair. Hargrave's shoots the action with authenticity. The film marks the directorial debut of the stunt-director, who has been part of producer Joe and Anthony Russos' Avengers universe. Extraction, though, is more Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), with its street fights and close-quarter combat.
The storyline promises action, and delivers. Newton Thomas Sigel's camera captures the gritty, grimy criminal landscape in Dhaka and the nature of its fighters. From confined staircases to alleys and crowded bridges, the camera moves as an observer to Hemsworth's mercenary, as he tries to find an escape route with his bounty.
The story is based on Ande Park's graphic novel Ciudad. While the story forms a heroic arc for Hemsworth's Tyler Rake, it fails to provide him with a strong antagonist. Hemsworth does the heavy lifting well, throwing himself into the action sequences with enthusiasm. He is matched by Hooda, a special forces officer, who finds himself fighting Rake and an entire country on two fronts.
The two characters who could have played villain, Tripathi's Mahajan and Painyuli's Amir Asif have little to do and only appear in bits and pieces. Of these, Painyuli has more screen time than Tripathi, but he has little to do other than look dominant and ferocious. The other problem is that both villains vanish at the key moments. Tripathi does not have a presence and vanishes in the first half itself, while Painyuli is restricted to shadow boxing around the edges of the story.
The key dramatic moments of Hemsworth's interaction with Ovi, played well by Jaiswal, feel a little too superficial. There is a touch of the Gladiator (2000) in Hemsworth's Rake - a one-man army fighting a lost cause to redeem his past. The only trouble is the conversation that sets the emotional foundation between the hostage and the rescuer. It fails to add the layer that would help the eventual dramatic moment register. Even the background of Hooda's Saju, a homely father with a son waiting for him, does not make an emotional dent.
Regardless, Hargrave builds up the action part of the film quite well. The film is one street fight after another, leading up to a thrilling end. With Hemsworth delivering the punches, Hooda pulls his own with some heavy-duty action. If only there was a villain worth fighting with.
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