June 16, 2023 / Netflix
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Golshifteh Farahani, Adam Bessa, Olga Kurylenko, Daniel Bernhardt, Tinatin Dalakishvili, Idris Elba
Directed By: Sam Hargrave
Hemsworth reunites with director Sam Hargrave, with Joe and Anthony Russo's AGBO producing and Joe Russo writing. Golshifteh Farahani reprises her role from the first film, with Daniel Bernhardt and Tinatin Dalakishvili also co-starring.
Written By Darren
Rating 3 out of 5
Extraction 2 improves on its predecessor, offering brutal action sequences and a little more story, but fails to capture the style to make it stand out among the many similar action films that are being released today.
If you are a fan of the first Extraction, you are going to enjoy the sequel. Personally not being a fan of the first film, I found the sequel offered more of the same but with a better grasp on the storytelling from director Sam Hargrave, returning to helm his second feature length film. As a professional stuntman, who worked with both star Chris Hemsowrth and executive producers Joe and Anthony Russo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hargrave’s expertise allows the action sequences to explode across the screen. But with a better character written for Hemsworth’s character this time around, he is given the ability to explore more with his direction, resulting in a film that I found to be superior to the original.
After barely survivinhis previous mission, mercenary Tyler Rake is hired to extract the wife of a gangster and her children from a Georgian prison. But after the extraction does not go as planned, Tyler must protect the mother and two children from her husband’s dangerous brother, hellbent on getting revenge against both Tyler and his sister-in-law.
It comes as no surprise that the best part of Extraction 2 is the action, which explodes across the screen in a glorious fashion. With Hargrave’s work as a stuntman, the choreography of the fights are incredible. There is a high octane energy to them that drives the film from start to finish, including one twenty-one minute single shot sequence that takes audiences on a wild ride that is without a doubt the highlight of the entire film. As for memorable elements to the action sequences, there is a brutal sequence in a workout gym which was insane and showing just how deadly workout equipment can be without a spotter, and one impressive move where Hemsworth literally splits a bad guy’s hand in half, proving him to be the superhero we all best associate himself with. It’s the over the top action the audiences want from such a film, but Hargrave grounds it in reality and relies on practical effects rather than CGI whenever possible. However, the action does start to get repetitive, and this is largely due to the lack of a distinct style to it. These pure action films, like the John Wick series and Gunpowder Milkshake, all have a signature style of their action that differentiates them from other films in the genre. But, Extraction 2 is missing that. It relies solely on pure brute force, which is entertaining, but not enough to sustain the two hour runtime with a generic story.
While it is an improvement over the story of the first film, the film is held back by its screenplay. There is enough story to get the film from set piece to set piece, but the film strives to create a more emotional story for Hemsworth’s Tyler Rake, but does not give enough substance or time to this plotline. For his next mission, Tyler is tasked with breaking a gangster’s wife and children out of a high security prison to save them from the abusive gangster, and they end up being chased down by the gangster’s brother out of revenge. It is very generic, offering an action packed blueprint that audiences have seen before with proven, entertaining results. But, there is a personal tie that Tyler shares to the family he is protecting, which has him reflecting on how he handled the death of his own son which was focused on a lot in the first film. It gives an emotional arc for Hemsworth to work with that with his natural charisma he easily sells, but it’s picked up and dropped throughout the film, preventing it from fully realizing its subplot’s potential.
Capably leading the film is Hemsworth, reveling in the action heavy spectacle. As an action star, Hemsworth gets to unleash his physical prowess on screen in all its glory as he brutally destroys any enemy in his path. He becomes everything that the film needs to succeed, and with his character’s personal arc over the film, gets to show off more of his dramatic chops than he did in the previous film. In terms of costars, Golshifteh Farahani and Adam Bessa are entertaining as Tyler’s partners while Olga Kurylenko has a small but impactful performance as Tyler's ex-wife Mia. Then there was Andro Japaridze as Sandro, the son of the gangster that Tyler is tasked with rescuing. I could not tell if it was Japaridze as an actor or the way his character was written, but the end result was that I found him to be one of the most annoying child characters/performances in recent memory.
Offering up tons of dazzling and explosive action sequences that propel the film from start to finish under the talented direction of Sam Hargrave, Extraction 2 is an adrenaline fueled showcase for Chris Hemsworth that improves on its predecessor and is the action popcorn film of the summer that audiences are looking for.