Ovi Mahajan is a nice kid living in Mumbai, India. And at first glance you might mistake him for any other awkward-but-normal teen boy from a fairly well-to-do family. In fact, that is exactly what he wants to be: normal and average.
But the truth is, he’s not your average kid. At all.
Ovi’s dad just happens to be the biggest and deadliest drug lord in India. The man may be currently serving his time in prison, but the elder Mahajan’s presence is everywhere. It weighs on Ovi like an albatross. Which explains why Ovi is so eager to sneak away from the men who watch him: so he can indulge in average teen rebellion.
Of course, having a dad who’s a well-known drug lord also means that those otherwise small, rebellious choices can have big consequences. And that’s how Ovi gets kidnapped by the biggest and deadliest drug lord … in Bangladesh, one Amir Asif.
Living on the other side of the world, Tyler Rake is not really a nice guy at all. At first glance, his rippling muscles and scarred body might make you think he’s sorta tough. But he’s actually more than that. He’s an emotionally tormented mercenary who knows everything there is to know about killing and destroying mercilessly, then drinking and drugging his pain away later.
During one such brain-numbing stretch, Tyler gets a call. And he takes on a mission to liberate and extract a young Indian teen named Ovi Mahajan. The extraction point is guarded by scores of men. The boy’s captor is powerful enough to have the local police and military at his disposal. And the clogged streets of Bangladesh will be akin to navigating a rat-filled maze.
Looks like a lot of people are gonna die.
As Tyler sets about his bloody mission of extraction, things quickly turn in bad directions. During a long series of car chases, shoot outs and sewer crawls, however, Tyler and Ovi get to know each other. And Tyler becomes truly invested in saving the young boy, no matter what the cost. In fact, Tyler and Ovi both put their lives on the line to help, or save, one another.
For her part, Tyler’s handler, Nik, also goes to great lengths to protect Tyler. Even when she finds out that they have been tricked into a rescue with no payment, Nik sends in extra forces to extract Ovi and the badly wounded Tyler.
Scantily clad women dance on elevated stages in a strip club.
It would be very difficult to spell out all the deadliness and destruction of this film. But I’ll give you a summary of the “high points” anyway.
It starts with Tyler splattering mens’ brains on the pavement with a silenced automatic weapon while he staggers and drags himself forward—blood seeping from seemingly every part of his body. Then we go back to the beginning of the tale to see how, fight by fight, fall by fall, throat stab by throat stab and explosion by explosion, the burly mercenary got to that gore-covered point.
The choreographed killing and butchering of seemingly hundreds of assailants flows on and on with a thump-thump-bang-squish repetitive rhythm that plays out in a painful-looking ballet. Faces are stabbed and pounded; eyes are impaled; heads, chests, legs and crotches are shot at close range; and men are thrown to the floor or sent hurtling off buildings to have their heads splat or necks crack with each visceral impact.
A teen lops off his own finger. Another teen is shot point blank in the forehead. And a man moves to kill a boy in his sleep. The camera watches closely as a wounded man slowly bleeds out and dies. Sniper shots bloodily obliterate the skulls of numerous victims. Vehicles flip, crash and explode. Entire blocks erupt in fire and smoke. Helicopters and armored vehicles are hit with high-caliber weapons fire, grenades, and RPG missiles. Etc.
Tyler and others repeatedly attempt to staunch the bloodflow from their various wounds and loped off fingers. One man snaps his badly broken nose back in place, releasing a gush of blood. We hear of a young boy dying from lymphoma.
Some 15 f-words and more than a half-dozen s-words are joined by several uses of “h—” and “b–ch.” Christ is misused three times , and God’s name is combined with “d–n” once.
In addition to tossing back beer and hard liquor (shared on numerous occasions with other acquaintances), Tyler regularly swallows painkillers from a prescription bottle. (In one scene, he shares the pills with another man as they wash the drugs back with a glass of whiskey.) We also see a large bottle of oxycodone pills on Tyler’s kitchen table.
A group of teens and a large group of adult patrons imbibe mixed drinks at two different clubs. A teen smokes a joint.
Tyler and Ovi wade through a nasty sewer during an escape, feces and swimming rats floating on the water’s surface. A man is shot while standing at a urinal.
Late in this film, drug lord and ruthless killer Amir Asif turns to a thuggish youth and says, “No matter how big a bada– you think you are, there’s always a bada– who’s bigger than you.” To Joe Russo (director of Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame) who penned this screenplay, that might have felt like just another cool, tough-sounding line to stick into his thinly dialogued movie. But in fact, it pretty much sums up this entire Netflix feature.
Extraction is the latest entry in the current craze for making purely action action films. (Think: any of the John Wick movies or their excruciating female versions, such as Atomic Blonde.) It equates to a video game-like pic that simply keeps driving and driving, and killing and killing, until the credits roll some 100 minutes later.
Oh, sure, there is a bit of story here. Chris Hemsworth trades his Asgardian hammer and Thor threads for the Kevlar vest and automatic weapons of a merc. And as he kills and destroys everything, as well as getting stabbed, shot and beaten, we realize that his self-flagellating choices are all due to the mental anguish of a past sad tragedy. Again, all pretty much part and parcel of the typical action-for-action’s-sake formula.
That’s not to suggest that the action here isn’t well choreographed and realistically graphic. It certainly is all that. Bullets and knives rip through every part of the human body, bones are brutally snapped, blood spurts and explosions decimate in a rhythmic two-step of deadly destruction.
But if you’re looking for anything more than scores of brutal kills, caustically foul language and knotted muscle bada–ery, well, you’d best invest your 100 minutes elsewhere
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.