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Review: Extraction 2

One of the only highlights of the disaster of a year that was 2020, Extraction was easily one of the best Netflix movies and one of the best action movies of the last few years, period.  Now, three years later, Extraction 2 takes everything great about the first movie and amps it up to intense and exciting new levels.

After barely surviving his injuries at the end of the first Extraction, Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) is trying to retire and recover from his injuries.  When a mission of personal significance comes up from a mysterious agent, he gets back into fighting shape and gathers his team, including Nik (Golshifteh Farahani) and Yaz (Adam Bessa), to head to Georgia and break a mother and her two children out of a dangerous prison where they are being held.  The plot won’t win awards for originality but it’s enough of an interesting structure to hang the movie’s main attraction on, massive, extended set-pieces of action.  The first movie earned praise for its one-take action sequences and Extraction 2 goes even further, including two main sequences that are shot like one-take but go on for at least 20-30 minutes and constantly ramp up the intensity and over-the-top action.  The movie may peak with the first massive sequence, which is Rake and his team breaking the family out of the prison that evolves into a car chase and then an insane sequence on a train, but all of the action is incredibly choreographed and thrilling.  There are also lots of unique and interesting ideas throughout, like Rake and the main villain fighting outside a building on precarious glass panels, the most brutal kill ever involving a treadmill, or bad guys coming off a helicopter onto a moving train.  One minor complaint is probably that after the first two big action sequences and their escalating build-ups, the final battle is much smaller and more intimate which is fine but might feel like a letdown after seeing what came before.  It doesn’t quite reach the levels of John Wick Chapter 4 earlier this year, which featured some of the most innovative and thrilling action arguably of all time, but Extraction 2 delivers in spades for action junkies and tops everything in the first Extraction, which was already pretty damn awesome.

Chris Hemsworth is great again as Tyler Rake, delivering on all the brutal takedowns and intense firefights and feeling equal parts unstoppable but also human and vulnerable.  He also does a good job with the dramatic, quiet scenes between action setpieces but that aspect of the movie as a whole is a bit half-baked and clearly didn’t have the same effort put into it as the action.  The first movie hinted at his tragic past with his son but there was just enough to get it and move on.  Extraction 2 lingers on it a bit more and it doesn’t really do anything interesting or unique with it, so it kills the momentum more than anything else.  Equally as awesome as Chris Hemsworth is Golshifteh Farahani as Nik.  She played a support role in the first Extraction but she is a full partner in Extraction 2, kicking just as much ass as Tyler and doing just as many stunts and fights, and is just fantastic throughout.  If they want to do a Nik spin-off, I’m fully on board.  Adam Bessa is a fun addition as Nik’s brother Yaz but it feels like he doesn’t get quite as much to do compared to Hemsworth and Farahani and outside of a dramatic plot point around the halfway/two-thirds point, probably could have been taken out of the movie and not really have been missed.  The family the team is rescuing are mostly human McGuffins and don’t really make an impact either way and the villains are stock but effective, especially Tornike Gogrichiani.  I do have to point out that the great Daniel Bernhardt is here as one of the main henchmen but is weirdly underused, only skirmishing a bit with Hemsworth and not really getting a big fight sequence.  Considering Sam Hargrave is a former stuntman and fight coordinator, it’s definitely odd to not fully utilize a martial artist and fighter of Bernhardt’s caliber to his fullest.

Overall, Extraction 2 is an incredible action movie with some truly spectacular set pieces, including some of the most thrilling and complex one-take sequences ever seen in this style of action movie. Chris Hemsworth is great yet again and Golshifteh Farahani is also excellent and they make a formidable and fun action duo.  There’s a setup for a third movie and I’m fully on board for whatever this team wants to cook up next but I can’t even imagine how they would top what they did here.

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