The much-anticipated sequel to the breakout action film Extraction, Extraction 2, is now streaming. But should you give it a watch?
While the Spring of 2020 was not humanity’s or Hollywood’s finest hour, one of the rare bright spots in our at-home isolation options (besides learning how to bake bread, apparently) was the explosive action film, Extraction, starring “Thor” himself, Chris Hemsworth as fearless black market mercenary Tyler Rake who rescues the kidnapped son of an imprisoned drug lord during a war between rival operations.
Combining enticing elements from the legacy films of the MCU, Extraction leveraged the names of Hemsworth and the Russo Brothers (Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame) along with the impressive stunt work resume of director Sam Hargrave (Captain America: Civil War, Infinity War/Endgame) to entice 99 million Netflix viewers to watch it in the first four weeks of release.
Even though the ending of the first film teased a potential sequel, audiences couldn’t be sure that they would get more adventures with Tyler Rake. However, Netflix wasted little time as reports of Joe Russo being hired to write the next film in the budding franchise happened mere weeks after the first film’s impressive debut on the platform.
While I am a fan of the first film, I would admit that the story elements and Tyler Rake’s character arc were not the pieces that ultimately made it success. The impressive visuals and relentless fight choreography rose above the lackluster villains and tepid connections between characters. In fact, the only thing that works to propel the first film along story-wise is Tyler Rake’s baseline character traits of grief, depression, and a boundless need to protect children at all costs.
Based on how the story for Extraction 2 turned out, I think its creators realized that too and that is a very, very good thing.
Director Sam Hargrave and screenwriter Joe Russo could have done what many filmmakers do with their sequels and rolled out the same blueprint with increased budgets, more lavish stunts, and an even more diminished plot line as if to say “we know why you’re here and here it is”.
While it does have more money and more firepower, Extraction 2 also has more heart and deeper connections that serve to increase the stakes of its ultra-violent buffet. To put it plainly like a 1990s movie trailer voiceover, Tyler Rake is back … and this time, it’s personal.
The man with the death wish from the first film has survived the unthinkable and finds purpose in the form of a new mission requested by the only person left in his life in which he has something to prove: his ex-wife Mia (played by Olga Kurylenko) whom he left behind to take care of their son in the final days of his battle with Lymphoma.
In the name of honor and redemption, we follow Rake and his team as they take on the head of a vicious crime family in order to save Mia’s sister and her children from his control.
Blending action movie staples like father/son relationships, revenge narratives, and ending cycles of violence with the aforementioned motives of Rake lends to a far more compelling tale than that of its predecessor. It’s also really, really useful if you blow up several helicopters or stab a bad guy with a pitchfork while doing it. Take notes, Hollywood Action Film Scribes!
And, yes, I realize I’ve been blathering on about story when the non-stop, chaotic action sequences are the real standouts.
The only hard part is picking your favorite at this point. Is it the daring escape from a Georgian Prison during a full-scale riot? How about hand-to-hand combat on the glass roof of a Vienna safe house? Did I mention blowing up a bunch of helicopters? You really can’t go wrong as Hargrave really puts his talents as an elite former stunt coordinator to excellent use.
Overall, Extraction 2 does a great job of knowing what its audience wants while serving them a story that its central character and its burgeoning franchise hopes desperately needed. Hemsworth has found a suitable path forward as his role in the MCU may be diminishing and Hargrave looks more and more like a success as a director, taking his place among his former stunt crew turned director peers like Chad Stahelski (John Wick) & David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Bullet Train)
Watch Extraction 2 on Netflix If You Like
- The Raid franchise
- Rambo franchise
MVP of Extraction 2
CHRIS HEMSWORTH as TYLER RAKE
Outside of his role as Thor in the MCU, it’s hard to pin down what types of roles or films in which Hemsworth is best suited.
No matter how often he tries on a more comedic role (Ghostbusters, Vacation, Men In Black: International), Hollywood wants to reel him back into the stunt-heavy action films. With Extraction, he showed he can do all of the physical & tactical scenes necessary to hang in the genre.
With Extraction 2, he brings that plus added layers of effective dramatic range when necessary. Sam Hargrave and the Russos are building out Tyler Rake with every installment, it seems and Hemsworth is not only up for the challenge but showing that no one in Hollywood right now could do what he does here.
PLAY, PAUSE, OR STOP?
Sam Hargrave and Chris Hemsworth have something cooking with this franchise that all of a sudden has real multiple sequel potential.