Extraction shines with its intense, intimate gunfight sequences. But the underlying White Saviour premise is bound to draw distaste for years.
Ovi Mahajan, son of an Indian crime lord, is kidnapped by Amir Asif, a Bangladeshi rival of his father. Saju, a henchman of Ovi’s dad, then hires Australian mercenary Tyler Rake to rescue Ovi in Dhaka. However, the Mahajan family, in truth, doesn’t have enough funds to fully pay for the mission, resulting in Saju having to consider alternative plans. Saju’s ultimate decision then kick starts various consequences. One of which being Tyler bonding with the teenage Ovi.
Firstly, let me comment on a certain theory that’s been going about online. That of, all “A-lister movies” like Extraction soon to be scheduled for streaming instead of cinematic release, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, movie cinemas would soon be a thing of history.
It’s a grim reality that cinemas have been and will continue to be hit hard. But to say they’d completely go away because there wouldn’t be anything to show? I highly doubt so.
The propensity for humans to forget tragedy aside, cinemas have survived all sorts of world catastrophes for over a century. In addition to which, could streaming truly replace the experience of watching a show in a comfy auditorium featuring a screen several times your height and with state-of-the-art sound effects?
I don’t think so. The theory seems to assume COVID-19 will never be managed. That the world will never recover, etc.
But enough of that, back to Extraction. Well, what to say about this popcorn flick? I guess I should begin with the action i.e. the star attraction.
These sequences are truly superb, masterfully presented through intimate over-the-shoulder viewpoints to project the impression that you are in the heat of things. At suitable intervals, the camera swings to wild angles too, angles that immediately convey the intense chaos of the moment.
Examples of the latter: the various car chase/escape sequences. For me, watching these were as thrilling as actually experiencing the action in an 8th-generation video game. I found myself strongly reminded of games like the Far Cry series, Uncharted 4, and so on.
As for the story, well, in spite of admirable performances from the Asian cast and “Thor,” this is in and out one of those stories from the last century. In other words, a god-like white saviour storming into a lawless wildland to enact justice and salvation, then inexplicably bonding with one victim because of a prior life experience.
Yeah. Last century. Dated, befuddling, and borderline offensive.
To be clear, it’s not completely intolerable. (Or should I say, those of us not from the western world have long turned numb?) More unbearable is the question of, why didn’t henchman Saju hire a South Asian mercenary? You mean there’s none in India or Bangladesh? Two of the most populous countries in the world?
To begin with, wouldn’t a South Asian be less conspicuous when executing such an extraction, compared to a TALL and MUSCULAR white guy?
Oh wait, the logic involving that is secondary, I guess. The show is really just a Chris Hemsworth vehicle, and all about exciting gun fights.