I'm the comedy Captain now...

Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.

Having not made a film since 2013ís Garbage, writer and director Phil Volken returns to the big screen - or small screen I should say - with his largest project yet, as a holiday turns into horror show in Extortion.

Heart surgeon Kevin (Eion Bailey) - who has the acting spirit of Nicholas Cage trapped within him - his wife (Julie played by Bethany Joy Lenz) and young son Andy (Mauricio AlemaŮy) are all packing their car and looking forward to a much needed break in the Caribbean.

All set and raring to go, Kevinís approached by the local neighbour who wishes to thank him for saving his wife, whilst giving ode to the danger the Caribbean can present - what a buzzkill for a family before a holiday.

Finally at their exotic destination and perusing the sights, the trio decide sunbathing and lounging around like most tourists isnít quite for them, as Kevin ventures to the local dock to find the most shady looking owner with the most rickety boat he can find. With a local found and having got his boat licence within 20 seconds - maybe this is how he got his surgeon's licence too - he rides out to sea with an exuberant family in tow as they scope out a deserted island.

Frolics were had and itís time to return back to the mainland, sadly the boat wonít start, and itís at this point Kevin realises he knows nothing about boats - nor anything not heart related. But it could be worse he muses to his wife and child as theyíre trapped on an island and berated from an overbearing sun, we could have run into that guy from Captain Phill- ah f--.

Aiming to conjure up a mix of 2003ís Open Water and 2015ís No Escape, Extortion starts out simple and convincing enough, and when I mean starts out Iím referring to around the opening 10 minutes or so, before descending into a deep dive of absurdity and never letting up on the throttle - Extortion is truly the epitome of a movie youíll catch on tv a few years from now whilst flicking through the channels one day.

Thatís not to say Extortion is bad from a technical point of view, filming in a gorgeous Puerto Rico, the views are literally to die for and used to create a sense of authenticity that for the most part work well enough, though Extortion finds it hard to escape the budget feel it presents on screen in both performances and the script - which is plainly dire. The worst major sin that Extortion treads, is playing everything so strait-laced, if it had stepped back and realised it had in fact created Carry On Caribbean weíd all have an infinitely better experience.

Extortion (Eion Bailey, Bethany Joy Lenz, Barkhad Abdi and Danny Glover)

Alas, Extortion believes it's presenting a thrilling experience, keeping us glued with its consistently far fetched twists and turns - one in particular had me having to pause the film for a good 5 minute chuckle.

Aside from Danny Glover - who plays a bumbling Police detective, with the film committing another sin by omitting the now iconic line ďIím too old for this shitĒ - there really isnít any known actors within Extortion, at least none youíll know by name. Plucked from the world of television, their performances ooze the same exuberance of a shit show they know they're in - but hey, at least they got a holiday out of it.

One man though actually puts in a half decent performance, that being Barkhad Abdi, a man youíll most likely recognise as the pirate antagonist in 2013ís Captain Phillips, a brand he's now seemingly carrying with him, becoming Hollywood's go to ĎMr Pirateí bad guy. There's definitely a nugget of an idea within Extortion, sadly the execution leaves a lot to be desired, with a film ultimately destined for the bargain bin at your local Asda.

Special Features

Behind The Scenes - A roughly 7 minute long vignette showcasing writer and director Phil Volkens vision of his film Extortion and the beautiful Puerto Rico location they are shooting within. He highlights the trouble of shooting on water and scouting the location.

For a straight-to-DVD film, Extortion doesnít exactly shine in the special features department, but honestly wanting to see more of the film should be the last thing on your mind.

Whilst great in idea, Extortion fails in its execution, quickly descending into outright comedy - albeit totally against its will - with a script that falls into the trap of a constantly escalating disaster movie - to comedic effect - and tv-movie performances that feel phoned in for the most part, that its beautiful location can't manage to subvert.

If youíre looking for a smart thriller then steer your boat well clear, but if youíre a cinematic masochist who doesnít mind a film so bad that it's fun to laugh at, then Extortion might be right up your dock.

A DVD review copy of Extortion was provided by the distributor for review purposes.

  • Review by
    David Robinson

    Twitter: @5ypher

    Posted on
    5th June 2017

  • 2 Out of 5 Stars
  • Laughable script

    Ventures into so bad its good territory

    Lack of special features

    Phoned in performances

  • Barkhad Abdi

    Authentic location

Film Info

Extortion Extortion
Rating: 15
Release Date: 5th June
Runtime: 1 hr 48 min
Director: Phil Volken
Starring: Eion Bailey, Barkhad Abdi, Bethany Joy Lenz, Mauricio AlemaŮy, Danny Glover, Jorge Cabrera & Tim Griffin

  • No Escape
  • Open Water
  • Captain Phillips

No, theres a few scenes of violence and death.

Multiple members of the cast and crew got sea sick whilst filming.

Director Phil Volken knew Barkhad Abdi was his fisherman after watching him in Captain Phillips.