It's a hard thing to try for a Netflix movie to punch through all of the noise and make waves with audiences.
In a lot of ways, the problem is Netflix's doing - firing out original movies on a near-weekly basis to keep up with demand, yet the success rate has been patchy at best. For every 'Uncut Gems' or 'Always Be My Maybe', there's about a dozen or so that fall by the wayside and end up at the other end of the algorithm.
In the case of 'Extraction', there's a lot to like about it - but the reality is nobody would be paying attention to it if it weren't for the fact that Chris Hemsworth is starring in it. Apart from a random scene with David Harbour, it's all on him to carry the movie through to its very sign-posted conclusion through a series of well-directed action sequences.
Story-wise, it's about as by-the-numbers as you can get - Hemsworth plays a black market mercenary who's living alone after losing his wife and child to Tragedy™ and is now has a Death Wish™ because he's Alone and Damaged™. Sure enough, he's pulled out of his idyllic paradise and offered a small fortune to pull the son of an Indian drug lord out of a scrape by a rival Indian drug lord.
Sent into Dhaka (which was the original title for the movie), Hemsworth gets to work by offing random baddies in poorly-lit rooms with some excellent choreography and satisfying chases throughout. Of course, it's not long before the whole city's after him and he's on the run, bonding with the little kid along the way, and generally being Alone and Damaged™.
If any of this reminds you of 'Man On Fire', 'Rambo', 'Proof of Life' or a dozen other kidnapping-gone-wrong movies, it's because 'Extraction' doesn't have anything new to offer on that front. Really, what 'Extraction' has in spades is action beat after action beat with just about nothing in between them.
Sure, there's a B-plot with one of the crime lord's underlings and there's obviously all the corruption in the city, but it's all done in such a ho-hum way that you could comfortably skip past these scenes to keep it on Hemsworth hurling him across the screen and smashing through windows.
If 'Extraction' has anything for Hemsworth's career, it can serve as a reminder that he's at his best when he's aware of his own limitations. Namely, that he's at his best when he's playing a loveable but dumb goofball with a pretty face. Trying to play a gritty action star with haunted past doesn't work because you're so often waiting for him to crack a joke or make light of the situation.
Director Sam Hargrave got his thousand hours before taking on 'Extraction' by working as stunt coordinator or Second Unit director on the likes of 'Avengers: Endgame', 'Atomic Blonde' and 'Deadpool 2', no doubt trying to forge a path along the same lines of Chad Stahelski and David Leitch did with 'John Wick'.
The difference here is that 'John Wick' had a convincing lead and embraced the heightened reality it existed in, and directors smart enough to latch on to what worked and discarding what didn't. Here, it's Chris Hemsworth trying to be Keanu Reeves and a story that's been done before, done better.
All that said, 'Extraction' isn't a terrible movie, but it's not just terribly great either. The action is sharply done and it pulls along at a brisk pace, but it's when things slow down that you begin to notice it's running on fumes.