First thing’s first. Yes, this is very much a “white saviour” film. There’s really no getting around it in this film, and it’s made even more frustrating towards the climax of the film when Saju (Randeep Padu) – a former Para operator and security officer for Ovi’s father – is revealed to be just as interesting and competent as white protagonist, Tyler Rake.
This isn’t to say that Chris Hemsworth doesn’t do a good job as Tyler Rake, because in actuality Hemsworth produces one of his better performances, while also proving that he’s worthy of the action film typecast. If this film had had a Western setting, Tyler Rake could have risen as the new Australian action hero in a franchise with exciting prospects for Netflix and its target audience.
The film itself is directed by Sam Hargraves, who directed many of the action sequences in the Marvel films. And that’s really what you get when you watch Extraction: one big ol’, hyper violent showdown. Although it’s tempting to assume that this was inspired by the ever-so-popular John Wick franchise, Extraction takes more cues from the Indonesian action flick, simulating the essence of hits such as The Raid (2011), which is also on Netflix at the time of this writing.
Unfortunately, it’s just not as good as either The Raid or the John Wick films. Despite its simple premise and impressive stunt work, Extraction still comes out feeling formulaic. The plot isn’t at all compelling, which would be fine if the film’s action had more style and imagination to compensate for it. Instead, what you’re left with is a series of gun fights that are put together like a house of cards that reaches its tipping point by the half-way mark.
Despite all of this, I think Extraction will certainly earn a fair number of fans and in this current era of “cinema” I’d recommend watching the film if this is usually your sort of thing. If excellent stunt work isn’t enough to carry you through a film, then maybe leave this one in the backburner.
Also, David Harbour is in this film. I forgot he was in it before I started watching, got a little bit of a “Oh shit, is that David Harbour?” when he appeared, and then forgot he was in it again the next morning. I’ll let you take what you will from that.