I’ve always been skeptical of featured movies on Netflix. I have this idea that any of them could be like those films that go straight to DVD without a stopover at the movie theater first.
But while being trapped inside, Netflix has become my closest companion. I binge watch anything I find entertaining to pass the day away. It’s been my daily routine since the quarantine was put into place.
“Extraction” was released on April 24; I got the notification from Netflix on my phone when I woke up that morning. I had never read any articles about the new release, but it piqued my interest after I saw Chris Hemsworth in the trailer. Not to mention that it was ranked #1 Most Watched that day. Pretty impressive.
The description, on the other hand, was rather bland. Still, I lied down on the couch that morning to watch it, just to pass time.
By the time it was over, I found it hard to stop crying. It was odd since it was categorized as a badass action movie; is it because I’m just a big crybaby? Well, that might be part of the reason but not the only one.
I decided to rewatch the movie to understand why an action movie compelled me to tears. What makes “Extraction” different from other films?
Intense Action Driven Plot
“Extraction” is a fast-paced action movie that follows the retrieval of Ovi from Amir Asif, a Bangladeshi drug lord. Tyler Rake and Saju Rav are the men tasked with the job.
Almost every scene is a life or death battle with the enemy. Around every corner, there is an armed antagonist ordered to apprehend Ovi by whatever means necessary.
Watching the movie made me feel as if I was the one in Dhaka being chased. The frenzied cinematography matched the moves of the actors on-screen, moving with urgency during intense scenes. It was like someone filmed it personally, with nobody else to help. It slightly reminded me of “1917,” which closely followed the characters as they traveled and fought to survive, all in a fluid motion, flowing from one scene to the next.
I remember being so absorbed with the camera angles and fight scenes that I forgot the timeline was over the span of a single day. All the action distracts from the minor details — in this case, the passage of time — to focus on the critical plot points.
Multiple Perspectives Occurring Simultaneously
Most action movies I’ve watched center around the protagonist with small snippets of the villain setting up their dastardly plot. “Extraction,” however, encompasses multiple perspectives, good and bad, simultaneously.
It goes from Saju and Tyler fighting over protecting Ovi, to Amir Asif manipulating children to do his bidding. Following the characters of the film allows viewers to understand them on a deeper level. It grants the ability to see what lies beneath the skin, underneath all the scars of the past. The ability to understand another person helps form a connection to the storyline, letting the viewer root for the hero’s victory as well as the villain’s demise.
Tyler and Saju, the protagonists of the film, are mercenaries that are ready to kill anyone that tries to stop them. Their incredibly intense fight scenes prove their capabilities with hand-to-hand combat and weaponry.
But what really strikes me is their compassionate nature.
From the beginning of the film, the two men are put in the position to save Ovi from Amir Asif for occupational purposes. Saju works for Ovi’s imprisoned, drug lord father as a bodyguard; he is to look over Ovi and make sure he is out of harm’s way. After being kidnapped, Saju is threatened: Retrieve Ovi or lose his entire family. With no options left, he goes undercover to get Ovi back. Tyler is recruited by Nik, a fellow mercenary, to retrieve Ovi from his kidnappers. He accepts the job for the cash reward from Ovi’s father.
To save Ovi is their job. But it becomes more than that as the movie progresses.
Nik tells Tyler that Ovi’s father wasn’t going to pay for the job — he just doesn’t have the money. Tyler is told to leave him there and let Saju take him back. But he refuses. Instead, he puts his life on the line to help Ovi return home safely.
Saju, on the other hand, has a close relationship with Ovi after serving as his caretaker and doing everything to keep him out of danger. Adopting a parental role was second nature since he has a son of his own. He chooses to take on the mission to protect his family and keep Ovi safe from harm no matter the cost.
Both men selflessly choose to save Ovi over themselves, a noble and heroic sacrifice.
A Bigger Picture
“Extraction” transcends the action genre. It shares multiple stories of pain, guilt, redemption and sacrifice within the characters, especially Tyler. It has physical and mental fights occurring simultaneously while keeping Ovi out of harm, a battle between the enemies and themselves.
After I finished watching it for the third time, I started to realize that the title itself conveys multiple meanings. At first glance, the word references the rescue of Ovi from Amir Asif. Short, sweet and simple.
But, later, I realized that extraction also applied to Tyler’s past. He carries the burden of guilt and pain for not being with his son that died of lymphoma. He ran away to the mountains to escape its reality. The flashbacks, however, keep happening. Tyler extracts Ovi to save him while Ovi extracts Tyler’s overwhelming guilt; they save each other from destruction.
The transformation of the relationship between the two shifts focus from completing a job to saving a child’s life, making his demise more heartbreaking on the audience.
But a major debate has arisen from the ending: Is Tyler Rake alive?
I choose to believe that Tyler is still alive even after being shot in the neck. Throughout the film, Tyler never mentions his underwater meditation technique to Ovi. Yet, at the end, Ovi copies the style. It could only be possible if someone taught him aka Tyler. And Ovi looks to the man in the distance as if he has been watching him practice. It’s an ending that is clear and cloudy at the same time.
Regardless of the truth of Tyler’s whereabouts, “Extraction” is more than just another action flick. It is a story of self-forgiveness, of a second chance to do the right thing.