You didn’t think we’d seen the last of Tyler Rake, did you?
The black-ops mercenary played by Chris Hemsworth was the hero of 2020’s Extraction, one of Netflix’s most watched movies ever. So it’s hardly a surprise that the tough-as-nails, macho character returns in the unimaginatively titled Extraction 2reuniting the Thor actor with director Sam Hargrave and screenwriter Joe Russo (co-director with brother Anthony on four MCU entries, including two The Avengers flicks) for another wildly over-the-top adventure based on Andre Parks’ graphic novel Ciudad.
The Bottom Line
Mute the dialogue, turn up the volume for the action.
Suffice it to say that if you enjoyed Extraction, you’ll have a fine time with this one, which, in typical franchise fashion, busts its butt attempting to outdo its predecessor. And it does, most notably in an “oner” action sequence designed to appear as if it were filmed in a single take that lasts 21 minutes, or nearly twice as long as the one in the first film. Indeed, the filmmakers are so proud of their achievement that the movie’s press notes are largely devoted to boasting about how they pulled it off.
Their pride is well-warranted. The sequence, which includes a prison break riot, a multi-vehicle car chase, and a segment in which Rake battles an army of assassins on a moving train that a helicopter actually lands on (!), is a genuine stunner. Featuring dazzling stunt work, fight choreography and largely practical effects, it’s a master class in action filmmaking that would cause cheers to erupt in auditoriums if the film was being widely exposed in theaters. Everyone involved, including Hargrave, who often did the camerawork himself under dangerous conditions, deserves a bonus. Forget Extraction 3: Make the next installment a feature-length, behind-the-scenes documentary about this one.
Unfortunately, there’s another 90 or so minutes of the film to get through, which are not nearly as thrilling. Yes, there are numerous other exciting action sequences, including a stunner involving a multi-pronged attack on a high-rise building (featuring an episode in which Rake daringly rescues a member of his team who’s about to slip unconscious off a sloped roof). But in terms of dialogue and character development, the sequel leaves much to be desired, even if it attempts to fill in some of the emotional blanks of its central character, who makes Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name seem like a chatterbox.
The plot is bare-bones. Rake, still recovering from his significant injuries from the first film, is approached by a mysterious figure (Idris Elba, suave as usual) who tells him he’s a friend of Rake’s ex-wife (Olga Kurylenko). The guy wants to hire him for a mission rescuing the family of a Georgian gangster who’s had them jailed in the same fortress-like prison as him (the incarceration system in that country is clearly very different from ours).
Rake recruits two of his former team members from the last adventure, siblings Nik (Golshifteh Farahani) and Yaz (Adam Bessa) to join him for the dangerous assignment, which proves more complicated than expected when the gangster is killed during the prison break and his Equally villainous brother (Tornike Gogrichiani) vows revenge. Complicating matters even further is that the gangster’s teenage son (Andro Japaridze) finds his loyalties torn between his mother (Tinatin Dalakishvili) and his crime family birthright. Needless to say, not every character makes it through the ensuing carnage alive. Except (no spoiler) Rake, because as far as Netflix is concerned, he’s not going anywhere.
Unfortunately, he’s not a very compelling character, despite Hemsworth’s charisma and obvious physical qualifications. For the next installment, let’s hope they bring back Elba, who, in just a few minutes of screen time, manages to bring the fun that the film so desperately lacks. It’s not that his lines are particularly sparkling — “I have to say, you’re not living up to the hype,” says an unimpressed Alcott upon meeting the battered, beat-up Rake — but rather the way he delivers them. Can we get that James Bond petition going again?
Production companies: Netflix, ABGO Films, Wild State, TGIM Productions
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Golshifteh Farahani, Tornike Gogrichiani, Adam Bessa, Daniel Bernhardt, Tinatin Dalakishvili, Olga Kurylenko, Idris Elba
Director: Sam Gargrave
Screenwriter: Joe Russo
Producers: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Chris Hemsworth, Patrick Newall, Sam Hargrave, Mike Larocca, Angela Russo-Otstot, Eric Gitter, Peter Schwerin
Executive producers: Benjamin Grayson, Steven Scavelli, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Jake Aust
Director of photography: Greg Baldi
Production designer: Phil Ivey
Editors: Alex Rodriguez, William Hoy
Costume designers: Jennifer Claire Lander, Rebekka Jonsdottir
Composers: Henry Jackman, Alex Belcher
Casting: Sarah Halley Finn, Krista Husar
Rated R, 2 hours 2 minutes
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