Chris Hemsworth leads the best action movie you won’t see on the big screen this summer.
PLOT: After barely surviving the events of the first movie, Rake is back as the Australian black ops mercenary, tasked with another deadly mission: rescuing the battered family of a ruthless Georgian gangster from the prison where they are being held.
REVIEW: When Extraction made its debut right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the action extravaganza we needed to pull us out of the pandemic funk. It went on to garner 99 million views in its first four weeks, the most watched Netflix original at the time. Three years later, Chris Hemsworth, Joe Russo, and director Sam Hargrave are back with the next chapter which manages to equal the action of the first movie while expanding the world in preparation for Extraction 3 and beyond. With more insight into Tyler Rake’s backstory and a very different mission before him, Extraction 2 is a rock-solid sequel and the best action movie you won’t see on the big screen this summer.
The first Extraction ended with Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) suffering a slew of mortal gunshots, including a bullet through the neck, before falling off a bridge into the water below. Just before the credits rolled, Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) spotted a blurry figure watching him in the distance. We were left to assume it was Tyler, but the start of Extraction 2 shows us the events that led to Nik (Golshifteh Farahani) and Yaz (Adam Bessa) rescuing their compatriot. Tyler’s road to recovery is long and hard and finds him venturing from Dubai to the isolated mountain forests of Germany, where he enjoys his retirement. That is when the mysterious Alcott (Idris Elba) arrives to enlist Tyler for a mission only he can undertake. At the behest of Tyler’s ex-wife, Mia (Olga Kurylenko), Tyler heads back into the fray to rescue Mia’s sister and her children from a prison where she is being held by her husband, co-leader of the gang known as the Nagazi.
After the requisite training montage, Tyler reteams with Nik and Yaz to break Mia and her kids out of the Georgian penitentiary in a sequence that rivals the first Extraction and franchises like The Fast Saga and John Wick. Constructed as a twenty-five-minute take, Extraction 2 pumps the adrenaline to the max in a sequence that goes from the prison to a high-speed road chase to an assault aboard a moving train. In the entire sequence, and Extraction 2 as a whole, Chris Hemsworth performs most of his stunts, and it shows. The use of practical effects over CGI for most of the movie helps make every moment land more tangibly than in most modern action films. I was on the edge of my seat for the film’s first act, and director Sam Hargrave did not let up from there. Extraction 2 is brimming with action without comparison, coupled with the quieter moments in this movie between the gunfights and all-out assaults. This is a more emotional film than the first Extraction as we gain insight into the death of Tyler’s son and how it affected his marriage and outlook on the world.
A big change from the first film is the size of the supporting cast. Rather than spending much of his time one-on-one, Tyler has a larger group around. Golshifteh Farahani and Adam Bessa have much more to do in this sequel, as both actors are engaged in the bulk of the action. The dynamic between Tyler and Nik is deepened here as the chemistry between Hemsworth and Farahani makes for a pretty dynamic duo. The villain is an improvement, as I found the menacing warlord of the first Extraction to be one of the film’s weakest parts. Here, Tornike Gogrichiani plays Zurab, the brother-in-law of the woman Tyler rescues, as a vengeful man whose family is more important to him than anything. The presence of Zurab as an active participant in the action makes him a far more dangerous antagonist and one who goes toe to toe with Tyler pretty evenly. Tyler is a different warrior here as his injuries sustained in the first film, though healed, carry a significant handicap to his skills. That does not mean it stops him from kicking ass, whether with bullets or a flaming arm delivering brutal punches.
Sam Hargrave made one hell of a directorial debut with Extraction, and his filmmaking acumen has grown since. Hargrave, a veteran stunt performer, goes all out to make Extraction 2 feel as immersive as possible without a VR headset. Strapping himself to the hood of a car traveling at 60 mph to get a particular shot comes through the screen throughout this movie. The action is visceral, and some of the kills are shockingly brutal. I found myself shouting out loud at several moments in this movie. It is that damn good. Screenwriter Joe Russo has taken the key plot elements of the first film and expanded them in a different direction here. Extraction 2 has that Russo Brothers charm, and Chris Hemsworth gets to spout some decent one-liners here. Henry Jackman and Alex Belcher deliver a consistently propulsive score and a shout-out to cinematographer Greg Baldi and editor Alex Rodriguez, who helped assemble some of the decade’s best action. This crew has melded together so well and may have created the best cinematic action hero in a long time.
There is no doubt that Extraction 2 is going to be a crowd-pleaser. This movie’s scale is impressive, making it a shame that it will not be debuting on the big screen. Netflix features have been hit or miss over the years, but this movie has finally given the streamer the franchise they have been looking for. The ending of Extraction 2 is much different from the first film and puts the saga of Tyler Rake in a position to become the next big film series. Chris Hemsworth has outdone himself, and this could go down as his trademark role, usurping even his international acclaim as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Extraction 2 is a top-notch blockbuster that does not stop to let you catch your breath before kicking your ass with some of the best stunts I have seen in a long time. This movie is the real deal and is even better than the first.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/extraction-2-review/