Some Indian actors completely butchered the language and most Dhaka based characters in the film sounded like they are from West Bengal
As Covid-19 lockdown continues in Bangladesh, every film lovers' eyes were on Netflix this Friday as they dropped their latest original film Extraction starring Hollywood superstar Chris Hemsworth. The whole country was eagerly waiting for the action-packed film since the Thor famed actor shared images from the shoot on the set of the film on his official Facebook page in November, 2018.
American action thriller Extraction, previously titled Dhaka, was greenlit back in 2017 by Netflix and is the directorial debut of famous Hollywood stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave. His titles include Hunger Games and several action films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The screenplay was written by Joe Russo, based on the comic book Cuidad by Ande Parks, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Fernando Leon Gonzalez, and Eric Skillman.
The film is a co-production between Avengers: Infinity War (2018) directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo’s (commonly known as Russo brothers) independent production company AGBO and Netflix. The lead cast Hemsworth is also one of the producers in the project.
The film was mainly shot in India’s Ahmedabad and Mumbai in November 2018 and some shots were taken in Thailand and Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The film’s production began in Ahmedabad and Mumbai in November 2018.
Tyler Rake, played by Chris Hemsworth, is a fearless black-market mercenary who is hired to rescue Ovi, played by Rudraksh Jaiswal, the kidnapped son of an imprisoned Indian crime lord. The kidnapping was done by a Dhaka based international drug lord which pushes Tyler into a deadly and almost impossible mission to Dhaka to save Ovi from the drug lord and his massive force of goons and bribed law enforcement members.
Extraction takes its audience from Dhaka to Mumbai to Australia and back, giving us a picture of the interconnected drug traffic ring in South Asia. The two-hour-long film is dark and raw from start to end and every action film lover’s dream.
Not even a single action sequence of the film was ever exactly shot in Bangladesh except some plate shots for establishment, including the iconic action sequence at Sultana Kamal bridge near Demra.
Chris Hemsworth never set foot in Dhaka yet the audience felt he was blazing his guns around Old Dhaka. All of the shots were taken in Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
Hats off to the production design team behind the project who had done an excellent job of recreating Old Dhaka in Ahmedabad with such attention to details from the vehicles, to posters in streets, to every single sign board of each shop in each sequence.
Russo brothers and Hargrave visited Dhaka couple of times but as Dhaka is not a very production friendly city, they just shot some establishment shots.
As the director and producers of the project are the masterminds behind the Avengers franchise, not a single action sequence will let the audience down.
The long yet fast paced follow shots during the action sequences are a treat to experience.
Hemsworth gave his absolute best playing the role of a hired black-market mercenary.
Except for the smartly handled production design choices, action packed fight sequences, and Hemsworth’s Asgardian god like charms nothing else really works in the movie. The screenplay is poorly written and lacks emotion. Though this is a spoiler free review yet there is really nothing more to the story line. The film feels like a two hour long fight sequence with some bandage breaks like a PUBG match on your phone.
We see a Bangladeshi drug lord kidnap an Indian crime lord's son and Tyler is unleashed to extract him from Dhaka. But why the big names of the subcontinental criminal underworld came to this rivalry, why these desperate measures are unclear.
Another problematic thing is the portrayal of Bangladesh’s law enforcement agencies. Every agency including the police, a fictional force named “Elite” which looked like Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and even the Bangladeshi military were portrayed to the worldwide audience that they were controlled and bribed by Dhaka based international drug cartels which is fictional but still problematic.
It paints a picture to the world that Dhaka is like Medellin in Colombia during the Pablo Escobar era which is far from true.
The screenplay could have supported some residents or law enforcement officers who were not criminals or involved in drug rings to balance this but every scene of Dhaka felt very wrongly portrayed.
Then comes the main issue of the whole film, the Indian actors who played Bangladeshi roles. Not a single one of them was talking Bangla in a “Dhakaite” accent or even a Bangladeshi one. Some Indian actors were completely butchering the language and most Dhaka based characters in the film sounded like they had a West Bengal based accent and pronunciation. Bangladeshi netizens were quick to respond to this error and complained that the producers of the film did not give attention to the language at all and how no one in Dhaka speaks like the way these characters in this film do.
The creators of the project should have kept in mind that Bangla language is the quintessential element of Bengali identity and they are the only nation who had given their lives for their mother tongue. So a faulty dialect of this language will become a sensitive issue for the Netflix users of this country.
Another huge issue was the acting of the kidnapped kid Ovi, played by Indian actor Rudraksh Jaiswal. As one of the lead characters of the film and having a huge screen time his acting weakness bores the viewers. Most of his dialogue deliveries are typical Bollywood melodrama and in some scenes beside Hemsworth he seems redundant and ridiculous.
The Bangla language and Bangladeshi people, more accurately Dhaka’s residents, were not accurately portrayed in Extraction. Yet it marks the beginning of an era where the stories of the capital of this small nation are being told by the Hollywood infrastructure to the whole world for the very first time on this scale. Events like these are important for Bangladesh and its filmmakers to create the urge in them to craft such stories on a massive scale for the global audience; stories which will be the accurate representations of the rich history, heritage and diversity of our beloved Dhaka.
Siam Raihan is a film editor, producer and a former sub-editor at the Dhaka Tribune’s Showtime Desk.