After watching Chris Hemsworth’s new action vehicle, “Extraction” on Netflix, Dustin wonders how many different famous movie special ops soldiers and mercenaries could actually beat Hemsworth’s Tyler Rake in a fight.
Let’s get this out of the way: “Extraction” is awesome. It’s the exact right movie at the exact right time: an unrelenting, brutal action movie starring a huge movie star (Chris Hemsworth) when the entire world is locked inside under quarantine. This is the Netflix movie that “Triple Frontier” and “6 Underground” wanted to be. But I don’t want to go too deep on the movie itself (you can check out today’s episode of our podcast “Empty Your Queue” for a greater dive into the movie itself). Today, we’re going to focus on something different: Hemsworth’s character Tyler Rake. Rake, a black-market mercenary and former Australian Air Service Regiment Special Forces Solider, spends the majority of this movie killing basically everything in sight in his quest to save young Ovi and return him to his family. Throughout the movie, Rake displays an unbelievable ability to kill people fast, brutally, and increasingly resourceful/creatively. As I watched this with my girlfriend I began to wonder to myself: “Is Tyler Rake the most deadly special forces/military-type character to appear in a movie?”
Now, it’s impossible to sit down and list every single actor who’s played a mercenary or solider in a movie (I mean, Mark Wahlberg has done it like 5 times by himself) so what we’re going to do instead is focus on some of the most popular/most recent examples and compare and contrast. We’re also going to do this because let’s face it, Rake is far more violent and tactical than the vast majority of movie soldiers from like 1975 or earlier.
To better compare these soldiers, we’re going to judge them in three key categories:
- Strengths – What are their specialties and top abilities?
- Creativity/Resourcefulness – A good movie soldier can usually kill you 15 ways with like every single item in any given room.
- The Difficulty of Their Movie’s Mission – How hard is what they’re trying to do and how does this difficulty impact their skills?
Let’s analyze Tyler Rake using these categories:
- Strengths – Unbelievable ability with all types of weapons, impeccable hand to hand/knife combat skills, can drink large amounts of alcohol and take an incredible amount of pills.
- Creativity/Resourcefulness – He kills two people with a rake, he uses other peoples’ bodies as weapons, seemingly always finds a way out of a sticky situation.
- The Difficulty of His Movie’s Mission – In “Extraction,” Tyler has to retrieve Ovi, the son of a drug lord who has been kidnapped by another drug lord. Once he gets him, Rake has to escape Bangladesh despite seemingly all of Dhaka trying to stop them.
So, safe to say that part of what makes this movie so good is Rake’s instant status as an elite movie mercenary/soldier. Now, let’s say that for some reason each of these characters is on Amir Asif’s payroll and has been sent to try and stop Rake from escaping with Ovi. Neither has a geographical advantage so the playing field is as level as possible. Who wins between them whenever they do eventually cross paths?
Character: Mitch Rapp
Played by: Dylan O’Brien
Movie: “American Assassin”
- Strengths – Self-Taught expert with guns and knives, committed to finishing his goals at any cost.
- Creativity/Resourcefulness – He’s not very creative in a pinch but that’s mostly because his ORION training basically just makes him a killing machine. However, he’s a quick-thinker in times of crisis and remembers his training at the best possible moment.
- The Difficulty of His Movie’s Mission – “American Assassin” sees Mitch join ORION, led by Michael Keaton, to help them recover stolen plutonium before it’s used to cause a nuclear detonation on the U.S. Complicating things further is that Mitch must go up against Ghost, a long-presumed dead former member of ORION.
The Result: Look, Rake is going to make short work of Rapp and that’s a guarantee. Rapp is young, let’s passion cloud his judgment, and doesn’t have years of experience of dealing with things going sideways. Rapp may get 1-2 shots in quick with his intense swings but Rake is solving that problem real quick.
Winner: Tyler Rake
Character: Chris Burnett
Played by: Owen Wilson
Movie: “Behind Enemy Lines”
- Strengths – Navy flight officer Lieutenant, adequate with guns, common street-smarts, and hand-to-hand combat. Proficient at eating Jell-O.
- Creativity/Resourcefulness – I almost switched Chris with Mitch Rapp but what keeps Chris out of Honorable Mention is his absolutely elite creativity with the snowman trap he lays for the Bosnian sniper Sasha. This whole movie is also like a two-hour commercial for the resourcefulness of a Navy officer.
- The Difficulty of His Movie’s Mission – Chris and his co-pilot Stackhouse are shot down over Bosnia and Stackhouse is quickly killed by the Bosnian military. Chris uncovers evidence of genocide by the Bosnian army and has to escape with the evidence before being caught.
The Result: Make no bones about this, Burnett can lay all the snowman traps he wants but he’s getting iced by Tyler Rake. I don’t think that even on his worst day Rake could fall for a gun leaning against a block of ice and a glove hanging over it. I think Chris stays alive longer than Rapp would because of his ability to hide and evade pursuit but once Rake catches him it’s over.
Winner: Tyler Rake
Character: Jack Ryan
Played by: John Krasinski
Movie TV Series: “Jack Ryan”
- Strengths – Marine veteran and member of the CTC working for the Terror, Finance, and Arms Division of the CIA. High-IQ, accurate marksman, elite rower, skilled in hand-to-hand combat.
- Creativity/Resourcefulness – Possibly this iteration of Jack Ryan’s biggest asset is his ability to problem solve on the fly and follow his instincts when it comes to issues of global terrorism and espionage.
- The Difficulty of His TV Show’s Mission – In both seasons of “Jack Ryan,” Ryan has to stop a catastrophic event on a global scale. We’ll go season one as being more difficult though because he had literally never been sent into the field like that with the CIA and had to adapt and learn everything on the fly.
The Result: This was originally going to be Jack Silva, Krasinski’s character from “13 Hours” but since that is based on a true story, it feels weird to include people from that movie in a silly exercise like this. Instead, we’re going with Krasinski’s other soldier named Jack: Jack Ryan. Ryan is much tougher than he lets on early and his ability to take a beating cannot be overlooked. I think Rake’s ability with knives is what gives him the edge and ultimately allows him to take the W.
Winner: Tyler Rake
Character: Mike Banning
Played by: Gerard Butler
Movie: “Olympus Has Fallen”
- Strengths – Former Army Ranger, 75th Regiment, and Head of Secret Service agent for POTUS. Elite survival skills, quick ability to ID threats and potential exits, unrivaled knife/hand-to-hand combat skills. Seemingly advanced computer hacking capabilities.
- Creativity/Resourcefulness – No one is going to accuse Mike Banning of getting creative in his fights but dammit if this man isn’t out there using every part of a room to get the job done (i.e. crushes enemy skull with a presidential bust). Banning also utilizes every available asset to his advantage including communication devices and security systems.
- The Difficulty of His Movie’s Mission – A North Korean terrorist group called “Koreans for United Freedom” have infiltrated and taken over the White House. They’ve kidnapped the President and his top staff & advisors in an attempt to gain access to the nuclear codes to detonate warheads across the United States.
The Result: This is by far the most evenly matched fight of them all. Banning doesn’t have the speed of Tyler Rake but Banning’s sheer brute force does give him a slight advantage in the event things go hand to hand. I think it’s more likely that they eventually realize they have a similar code of ethics and team up than it is that one of them kills the other.
Character: John Matrix
Played by: Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Strengths – Retired Special Forces Colonel, elite weapons skills, unbelievable brute strength, can literally smell enemies coming.
- Creativity/Resourcefulness – There’s a lot of John Matrix qualities in Tyler Rake and in movie soldiers for the last 30+ years really. Matrix’s ability to kill people with even the most common items can’t be overlooked.
- The Difficulty of His Movie’s Mission – “Commando” follows Matrix as he basically goes to war with a South American dictator that has kidnapped his daughter with the hopes that this will convince Matrix to assassinate his political rival. Matrix escapes captivity and then goes on the hunt to kill literally an entire island of enemies to retrieve his daughter.
The Result: Uh oh, Tyler Rake is in trouble. If you disregard that Matrix can literally smell enemies coming, Rake still has to contend with the fact that John Matrix is a car-flipping, neck-snapping, arm-cutting animal. Even without the added motivation of rescuing his daughter, I don’t think Rake can get the job done against him. This is a real teacher-pupil moment and the pupil just isn’t there yet.
Winner: John Matrix
Character: Bob Lee Swagger
Played by: Mark Wahlberg
- Strengths – USMC Force Recon Gunnery Sergeant sniper, explosives expert, one of the most elite marksmen ever.
- Creativity/Resourcefulness – Bob Lee Swagger hangs on boats, rigs explosives, murders people with wire, and much more throughout the 2hr 6min runtime. His resourceful saves his life, Memphis’ life, and helps him to clear his name.
- The Difficulty of His Movie’s Mission – Take “Extraction” and instead of rescuing a child, the mission is clearing your name after you’ve been framed for the assassination of the archduke of Ethiopia. Now, instead of escaping Bangladesh’s military and police, you have to escape the United States of America’s military and police force with your face and identity plastered all over the country.
The Result: Swagger gets the upper hand because his movie is literally him vs the United States and the most elite military operatives in the country. It’s likely that he and Rake would have the best movie fight since Dom Toretto and Luke Hobbs but it’s even more likely that Swagger somehow gets the job done.
Winner: Bob Lee Swagger
Make no mistakes about it, Tyler Rake is an elite-level movie soldier and “Extraction” is incredible. Watch it on Netflix and let us know on Twitter or Instagram who we missed or how you think these fights would go.
Check out Empty Your Queue’s episode all about “Extraction.”