Back from the Grave: Our Honest Review of Netflix’s ‘Extraction 2’

While everyone was forced to retreat indoors during 2020, Netflix released one of its most popular films to ever grace the platform; Extraction starring Chris Hemsworth became one of the streaming giants most viewed films and following its immediate success, a sequel was greenlit in spite of the apparent onscreen death of Hemsworth’s character, Tyler Rake but Extraction 2 was recently released on the platform and while it doesn’t do much to reinvent the genre of constantly flowing action, it does give Netflix a new franchise and a new star to build around.

At the end of Extraction, Tyler Rake’s fate was left unknown as the former SAS operator fell off a bridge and into a river following several life-threatening wounds. It was possible that the mercenary had survived but it was not confirmed until the opening of Extraction 2 when Rake is rescued in India and taken to a hospital to begin the long road of recovery. It seems as though he has retired from mercenary and is living a quiet life in Austria with his dog and a secluded cabin until a mysterious stranger, portrayed by Idris Elba, recruits him for a mission to rescue his ex-wife’s sister and her children from a Georgian prison. It is a pretty thin premise to get Rake back into the game but it is followed by a training montage that would make the Creed films jealous complete with Hemsworth smashing wood blocks with an axe and moving a snow sled laden with stones to build his stamina. 

Rake then enlists his former mercenary partners, Nik and Yaz, to travel to Georgia and begin the thrilling process of rescuing his extended former family. For those familiar with the first film, what immediately stands out is the extended action sequences that seem like they are captured in one take or with as little cuts as possible. This has become a popular trend in action films with other notable examples including the John Wick films, Atomic Blonde and the famous hallway fight scene from the first season of Daredevil and while the original Extraction’s extended scene clocked in at around 12 minutes, Extraction 2’s first and most exciting action scene nearly doubles that at almost 21 minutes of non-stop, nearly edit free action complete with explosions, fist fights, stabbings, a prison riot and fire. The choreography and rehearsal of this action sequence must be praised and almost certainly makes the case for the Oscars to include a Best Stunt Work category in the near future but the action does not stop at this prison break. There’s a vehicle chase through the nearby woods, a running gunfight through a factory and a shootout on a moving train that looks like it was ripped right out of a Call of Duty game or any of the more recent Fast and Furious films. It is certainly exciting but also a tad confusing as Rake’s comrades also get in on the action and forces the film to cut in on them while also showing Rake is his own gun and/or fist fight. It is a noted departure from the first film that made focusing on Rake and his charge much simpler and easier to follow along.

The film then moves on to an urban landscape when a Georgian crime lord is tipped off to where the family is and mobilizes his own army to attempt their own extraction which results in yet another thrilling action sequence complete with creative kills ripped straight from the John Wick films and enough gunplay to make a card-carrying NRA member exclaim with joy. While the group is able to make their escape, Yaz is tragically killed and Rake’s former nephew-in-law is taken by the crime lord. Again, the pretense for Rake accepting this mission is thin but his ex-wife does arrive following the rescue and while she does not explicitly ask Rake to go get him back, he is reminded of the obligations that come with family and the mission he accepted so he does attempt to go it alone and rescue the young man but the result is lackluster at best. Rake almost makes this final objective look too easy as he makes quick work of the opposition with the help of a grenade launcher and some timely assistance from Nik, Rake is able to kill the crime lord but not before a slight nod to Hemsworth’s time as Thor from the Marvel Cinematic Universe as he appears to try and grab a hammer to aid in his fight. Considering the nearly non-stop that has quickly become a part of this series, it is rather disappointing to see an intimidating foe be defeated so quickly and in such an anti-climactic fashion.

Since Rake’s mission was unsanctioned and came without political protection, Rake and Nik wind up in separate German prisons until Idris Elba’s character (unnamed in the film but credited as Alcott) breaks them out and enlists the two of them for another mission to make their criminal records disappear for good. Elba remarks that his employer is a gnarly individual and gears up audiences for a possible new entry in the Extraction series. Extraction 2 does not offer much in the way of character development as we knew of Rake’s deceased son but manages to soften him up and portray him as a protector who will do the right thing when it’s said and done nor does it do much to reinvent the action from the first film other offer up longer action sequences but it does open up the possibility for more films given the vacuum that exists for Hemsworth now that his time in the MCU has seemingly ended.

VERDICT: 3 shredded Valentino shirts out of 5

Featured Image Credit: Netflix via IMDb

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