Director: Phil Volken
Starring: Eion Bailey, Barkhad Abdi & Bethany Joy lenz
Synopsis: When a Caribbean family vacation takes a disastrous turn, a father finds himself at the mercy of a cold-blooded fisherman, and a desperate race against the clock to save his wife and son.
Rating: 15 Duration: 105 minutes Release date: 5 June (UK)

For anyone about to watch Extortion and is expecting a smart, well thought out thriller may want to look away now. The film may have a good concept in theory, but the execution is ill thought out and as a result leaves the film distinctly lacking any real quality.

Kevin Riley (Bailey) has taken his wife and son for a holiday to the Caribbean. Enjoying the sun and the relaxed way of life, Kevin decides to hire a boat from one of the locals so he and his family can take in the various islands for themselves. All goes well until the engine fails and their return journey is cut short. After sometime spent trying to signal other boats and attempting to sail to safety the family are resigned to the fact that no help is coming. Until, that is, a mysterious fisherman finds them and rescues them only to demand immediate payment for his services. Annoyed, Kevin initially refuses, but is threatened and beaten while his family is taken from him. What ensues is a battle of wills as Kevin must find a way to rescue his family before they die.

Extortion is a film full of clichés and modern stereotypes. The basic premise is sound enough, but it is so badly thought out that it becomes laughable. The idea of seeing how far a man will go to save his family has been done to death, so for any film attempting this scenario they must either come up with something new or something reasonably entertaining. Unfortunately Extortion is neither of these things and feels like a rather duff effort by all involved. Eion Bailey’s handsome and oddly muscle-bound doctor must negotiate several tricky situations which get more ridiculous the longer the film lasts. Perhaps if the film were to realise how silly it is, then we may have had a better film on our hands. However, it takes itself far too seriously and tries to lump an everyday guy into an extraordinary scenario while the audience looks on in bewilderment.

The one saving grace is Barkhad Abdi who, while seeming to be something of a go to guy for villainous fishermen/pirate, lends the film menace and grace as its archetypal villain. Some lines come across as awkward, but that is more down to the lumpy script than it is to the actor. And yet, despite Abdi’s considerable screen presence he alone cannot save the film from feeling like a slightly better than average TV film that will get buried somewhere deep in the late night schedule.

Special features:

  • Behind the scenes feature

Film: 2/5
Extras: 1/5

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