Monday, July 31, 2017

Movie Monday: Extortion

We actually saw two movies this weekend! Friday evening, my husband brought home a DVD from Redbox (woohoo - Friday!) - a thriller called Extortion. Neither of us had heard of it before, but it turned out to be a taut, tension-filled thriller about a family vacation gone wrong.

Kevin Riley, played by Eion Bailey, is a doctor and seems like a nice guy. He is taking a break from work (though still making last-minute calls about his patients) and taking his beautiful wife, Julie, played by Bethany Joy Lenz, and their adorable son, Andy, on a vacation to a gorgeous resort on a Caribbean island. They arrive, and the place looks idyllic - aqua-colored water, golden sands, palm trees waving in the breeze. Andy is very excited to try Jet Skis, but they are all booked when Kevin checks, so he decides to rent a boat instead. Those are all booked at the resort, too, but the rental clerk tells Kevin he can also rent a boat from a local down the beach. So, Kevin hands over $200 to a random local man in exchange for a very no-frills looking motor boat, and the family of three set off on their own into the ocean with no means of navigation. What could go wrong?

The answer, of course, is everything. Not only is the family stranded on a deserted island miles off-shore, but they are rescued by a fisherman, played by Barkhad Abdi, who was so good in Captain Phillips as a Somalian pirate. He sees a golden opportunity in this desperate wealthy American family, and as the name of the film suggests, extorts from Kevin a very large sum of money in return for not letting his family die of thirst and exposure. Things go from bad to worse, as they generally do in these movies. Eventually, Constable Haagen, the town's police chief played by Danny Glover, gets involved in the case, but even that doesn't go well for poor Kevin.

This is a classic vacation disaster film: your basic Gilligan's Island 3-hour tour gone wrong times 100. There were lots of holes in the plot (like WHY did this family go out for 3 hours on a boat and bring nothing with them?), but we tried to ignore those and just go along for the ride. And it is an exciting ride - a rollercoaster of ups and downs (mostly downs) and unexpected twists and turns. If you're looking for action and adventure, there is plenty of suspense and tension here to keep you holding your breath until the very last frames. If you can just suspend disbelief a bit, it's a very fast-paced and entertaining movie.

Extortion is now out on DVD and is available on streaming through Amazon (as low as $3.99). It is not available on Netflix.

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