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23 Apr, 2020 22:00

‘A problematic white savior flick’: Starved & desperate woke mobs target Netflix’s ‘Extraction’ starring Chris Hemsworth

‘A problematic white savior flick’: Starved & desperate woke mobs target Netflix’s ‘Extraction’ starring Chris Hemsworth

With theaters closed and streaming numbers booming thanks to Covid-19, extra attention is being paid by social justice warriors to Netflix’s ‘Extraction’, and they’re now slamming the B-picture as a ‘white savior’ movie.

The film –which stars Chris ‘Thor’ Hemsworth and is produced by ‘Avengers: Endgame’ directors Joe and Anthony Russo– follows black market mercenary Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) fighting against the odds to extract the kidnapped son of a crime lord in Southeast Asia. 

One look at the trailer and it’s pretty obvious the sort of B-action movie vibe the flick is going for. With a storyline that would have fit Schwarzenegger or Stallone a couple decades ago, the gritty feature is mostly interested in showing off Hemsworth’s physique and the stunt-coordinator-turned-director’s talent for action set-pieces. Critics, however, are already attempting to have a much deeper conversation about the film, one that has everything to do with the skin color of the film’s protagonist and nothing to do with the story.

Variety’s review slams the movie as “a white-savior version of ‘Man on Fire.’”

Screen Rant similarly says the film’s “regressive white savior elements” drag it down.

A positive Forbes review hilariously begins by acknowledging these same woke problems before heaping any praise on the film.

“Look, let’s get this out of the way. Yes, director Sam Hargrave and writer Joe Russo’s ‘Extraction,’ premiering on Netflix this Friday, is an arguably ‘problematic’ white savior flick,” the writeup reads.

Similar critiques can, of course, be found on social media:

The biggest complaint, besides Hemsworth’s skin color, is that the antagonists in the film are all foreign characters, something that should likely be expected when a film takes place in, you know, a foreign country. 

‘White saviors’ in movies is nothing new. It’s a well-known cinematic trope where a caucasian character is thrust into a different culture and proves to be wiser and more resilient than anyone around them, and proceeds to save minority characters from less fortunate circumstances. Past films to be accused of such storytelling techniques include everything from Tom Cruise’s ‘The Last Samurai’ to Clint Eastwood’s ‘Gran Torino.’ 

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White savior films no doubt exist but the ‘Extraction’ accusations show woke mobs have taken what is little more than an ignorant cliché and morphed it into a blanket criticism against any and all films that dare to present a story following any white character into a foreign culture.

‘Extraction’ is not a film about Chris Hemsworth walking into a different world full of minority characters and a culture he doesn’t understand and handing down lessons. It’s an action romp about a soldier moving from point A to point B with a slew of killers in between. It’s a story that’s been done time and time again with various action stars – ‘16 Blocks’ with Bruce Willis, ‘Mile 22’ with Mark Wahlberg, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ with Tom Hardy – and the simple narrative has nothing to do with race or cultures. 

Hemsworth’s race isn’t even central to the story, but rather only important to sensitive critics fearful of any story involving a white man in a foreign land that does not have an aggressive agenda to preach lame woke politics to its audience.

The film is based on the graphic novel ‘Ciudad’ by Joe Russo. That book does not even contain the same locale as the film. It takes place in South America instead, which shows the location is little more than a MacGuffin for the plot. A slight tweak here and there and we could have a story set in New York or one of a million places. The setting is little more than a trick employed by the filmmakers to further isolate the main character and keep the odds stacked against him.

This explanation, however, has nothing to do with politics or overbloated discrimination, so it’s likely one that goes right over the head of critics whose minds are too warped by ever-changing woke standards to understand.

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The Covid-19 Effect

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, with movie theaters closed and network television shows shutting down productions, streaming platforms like Netflix have found themselves in a rather beneficial moment. The streaming giant has added millions of subscribers in the last month and seen content like ‘Tiger King’ watched by tens of millions of households. 

The extra eyeballs on new releases from the platform and the limiting of new content to whine about is likely the toxic mix that has led to the desperate arguments trying to make ‘Extraction’ out to be anything more than an innocent attempt at a popcorn thriller. 

What is truly “regressive” and “problematic” is a culture infected with starving critics ready to bite at anything that has even the whiff of not being a liberal agenda-fueled narrative ticking off social justice boxes, rather than simply being a piece of pure entertainment, something we could all use a little dose of right now.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.