extraction 2 review

Extraction 2 review | A lean, mean, entertaining action sequel

Chris Hemsworth returns as brutal mercenary Tyler Rake in Netflix’s Extraction 2. Read our full review. 

Watching Extraction 2, Netflix’s sequel to 2020’s action hit Extraction, one question kept popping into my head. Is this good? Or is this just impressive? Make no mistake; there is a clear difference between the two.

Extraction 2, ultimately, fluctuates between the two. It’s never outright bad, but many of its excessive action sequences are simply “cool”. And you can only do so much with cool. 

Tyler Rake, feared dead after the explosive events of the first film, is found near-dead and taken to a hospital, where he lies motionless for months. His handler Nik (Golshifteh Farahani, a breath of fresh air), is fighting to keep him plugged in and alive even as the doctors are losing hope. Finally, Tyler opens his eyes and goes through a gruelling bout of recovery and physio, all in the space of about 5 minutes of screen time. 

Chris Hemsworth Extraction 2 trailer

credit: Netflix

He is eventually drafted back in by a mysterious man (Idris Elba) who sends him on a mission to rescue Tyler’s ex-wife’s sister from a Georgian prison where she is held with her children, thanks to her crime lord husband. What follows is 120-ish minutes of unstoppable, breathless action. 

There’s a high chance you’ve already decided if Extraction 2 is a masterpiece or a pile of trash before you hit play. For what it is, which is a balls-to-the-wall action epic, Extraction 2 does its job amicably. While it often feels like a video game, jumping from one ludicrous action sequence to another, Extraction 2 can never be accused of doing things half-assed. 

The first big action scene, set in the Georgian prison, includes a mighty 21-minute, uninterrupted take where Tyler rescues the woman and her kids while shooting, kicking and stabbing people left, right and centre before derailing a train. The scene is both the best and worst that Extraction 2 offers. 

Firstly, it is a hell of an achievement. I think I spied a couple of hidden cuts, but even still, it’s an impressively choreographed and well executed action fight scene. The camera stays mostly on Hemsworth while fluidly navigating the destruction and violence. 

Yet, it also represents the very worst thing about these Netflix films. It’s smooth and glossy, even with all the dirt and blood on screen. Where is the grit? The stakes? Why should we care who wins in these seemingly endless fight scenes? All the film is, at the end of the day, is impressive and that’s not enough. Sure, the long battle sequence moves the plot forward, but it does very little for the story. 

Black Mirror seemingly has the same issue. The Netflix house style is irritatingly clean and flat, and there’s a strange refusal to ever let the camera engage with the subjects. Plot seems to be an afterthought in  Extraction 2 which cares more about impressing the viewer than challenging them or giving them anything real. There is a shallow attempt to explore Tyler’s guilt over abandoning his dying son and a subplot about one of the rescued kids wanting to return to his father, but there’s no real effort to explore the magnitude of these themes. 

That being said, Extraction 2 is still pleasingly mean and brutal. It’s less convincing during the emotional moments, where Tyler recounts his tragic personal history, but the spectacle is still entertaining. The film’s story is lean; director Sam Hargrave and writer Joe Russo waste no time spoon-feeding any context to the audience, and frankly, it’s not needed. Extraction 2 never becomes great, but even still, it’s pretty good, and perhaps that’s the highest compliment to be given here. 

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