Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) was dead, to begin with. After having been declared clinically deceased, Rake is slowly nursed back to health and is summoned for another mission.
This time the distress call arrives from his ex-wife Mia (Olga Kurylenko) via a mysterious man (Idris Elba). Mia’s sister Ketevan (Tinatin Dalakishvili) and her children are imprisoned with her incarcerated husband, Georgian crime lord Davit Radiani (Tornike Bziava). With the help of his associates Nik (Golshifteh Fahariani) and Yaz (Adam Bessa), Rake sets out to the Eastern European country to extract his family while fighting off the threats of Davit and his even more sinister brother Zurab (Tornike Gogrichiani).
Stunt coordinator turned director Sam Hargrave along with writers Joe and Anthony Russo, know exactly what movie they want to create. Based on the graphic novel Ciudad by Ande Parks, Extraction 2 is thin in the plot but huge in action. It is a huge two-hour action set piece interspersed with a few solemn moments.
These quiet moments see Rake still reeling from the guilt he feels for not being present as his son passed away from cancer. He sees his missions as ways to make amends for his absence. He welcomes the risk associated with “fixing” things for others, even though he runs away from his hardships. The mission in Extraction 2 hits close to home. A reunion with his ex-wife allows Rake to come to terms with his sorrow.
Extraction 2 also has a subtext of siblinghood. The villain brothers carry their own trauma. They grew up in a war-torn country and were raised by an abusive father. They only had each other to support themselves during difficult times. This “hard” comeuppance leads them to become dangerous crime lords who will stop at nothing to avenge each other.
The sibling relationship between Rakes partners Nik and Yaz is also explored, although superficially. However, the actors prove capable of landing the necessary emotion despite limited opportunities to establish a touching connection.
These fleeting moments add some depth and purpose to the story. Hemsworth demonstrates once again that he is much more than brawn and muscle. He can deliver heartfelt emotion and well-timed humor along, with impressive physical feats. He turns Rake into a character audiences truly care about and root for.
However, enveloping the drama is violent action, and lots of it. Hargrave’s assuredness in his direction is astounding. Every punch landed is felt. Every stab will make the audience wince. The cacophony of bones crunching, shots fired, and explosions will ring in the audience’s heads long after the final credits roll. It is an extra sensorial beat down.
Worth singling out is the extraction scene. It is an approximate 20-minute continuous shot of nonstop, heart-racing, and quite frankly, bonkers action. It exponentially increases the insanity level with every passing minute. The stunt crew, camera operators, and fight choreographers have carefully composed an epic ballade of adrenaline and “how did they do that” moments that will cement itself as one of the most impressive action sequences of all time.
Through two Extraction films, Hargrave has created an action franchise that is here to stay. Interestingly, after having considered giving Extraction 2 a limited theatrical run, Netflix decided to release it direct to its streaming platform. Here’s hoping the obligatory threequel will be presented on a larger screen, with the right amount of haywire action to match.