Year: 2020
Studio: Netflix
Director: Sam Hargrave
Writer: Joe Russo/Anthony Russo
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Gholshifteh Farahani

What a blazingly fun throwback of an action flick. If you're in any doubt about how seriously it takes itself, there's a scene of a guy hitting a guy with another guy – he literally picks him up and swings him around like an oversized club to knock another guy down.

The guy wielding the human weapon is Chris Hemsworth as an ex special forces soldier with a Past™ named Tyler Rake (how onomatopoeic is that? Might as well call him Smash Mayhem...) Now a mercenary for hire, he lives a peaceful life in the remote Kimberley doing paramilitary work through his no nonsense handler Nik (Gholshifteh Farahani), who drops in one day with his latest assignment.

A fearsome Bangladeshi drug lord has captured a teenage boy, the son of an incarcerated business rival, and wants a hefty ransom. Rake and his team are recruited to rescue the boy, and when Rake enters their stronghold peacefully to observe proof of life, then returns with guns blazing to take the kid to safety, you immediately know what you're in for.

His first priority is to get Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) to the extraction point where the rest of the team are waiting, a riverside dock, but it all goes south. The imprisoned drug lord's right hand man hijacks the payment and intends to kill Rake and his team and bring the boy in himself. I can't remember why and it doesn't matter, because by that point bullets are flying as fast as the whip-cut camerawork.

Almost everybody is taken out, leaving Rake and the boy stranded and sending them plunging back into the jungle with the bad guys hot on their heels. Meanwhile, the drug lord who's now lost his quarry and who runs Dhaka orders the whole city locked down until they retrieve the kid, everyone up to and including the army in his thrall.

With the deal off, everybody is telling Rake to abandon the kid to his fate and get himself out, but his Past™ makes him want to rescue Ovi and make amends for whatever demons he's facing. You know he's going to reveal them in a tearful monologue during one of the film's rare quiet moments, but honestly that's not why you're there.

You're there for the balls to the wall R rated action, gunfights, fist fights, car chases through sweaty, crowded streets, blooms of blood on every surface and bodies falling like swatted flies (in fact it's interesting late in the movie to consider the dozens of people who've been killed so one person can live if you want to get all trolley problem about it).

As the second act opens there's an thrilling and very inventive single take shot that follows Rake and the boy on a car chase through Dhaka and into an apartment building while the police and the bad guy's goons descend. It's certainly a high point for the direction, but the action still never lets up until the end. It's the kind of thing we'd have seen in the 80s only with way better special and visual effects, you could write the premise on a pinhead, it's completely free of authentic drama and it's a hoot all the way through.

Hemsworth, dark shades and lush hair never faltering, plants a stoic scowl on his face, never raises an eyebrow while he shoots and punches rooms full of baddies into oblivion and looks so brutish if he ran out of options he'd probably catch bullets in his teeth.

Side note; as you might realise fairly early, it wasn't filmed in Dhaka, where the authorities probably wouldn't have approved a script that depicts their city government taking orders from an international narcoterrorist. Bangkok stands in for the Bangladeshi capital.

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