'Extraction 2' review: Entertaining sequel solidifies Netflix's best action franchise
Courtesy of Netflix
Back in April 2020, when the world shut down from COVID, there were scarce options when it came to blockbusters and some wondered if we’d ever see them again. Along came Sam Hargrave’s “Extraction” with its big explosions, tight action choreography, and Marvel superstar Chris Hemsworth to keep us fed while studios took a break. The movie certainly didn’t set the world ablaze nor found much cultural relevance, but it did manage to crack #7 on the all-time Netflix chart. Enter “Extraction 2,” which, by all accounts, should come pre-packaged as the shameless, crummy action sequel that plagues whatever goodwill its predecessor gave us during lockdown. Instead, the bigger, leaner, and more entertaining follow-up ends up making a case the “Extraction” franchise is the closest Netflix will ever come to finding their “John Wick.”
Unlike the streamer's lousy arsenal of original action movies, think “Red Notice,” “Extraction 2” has grit, tenacity, and filmmaking prowess that, frankly, more action movies could use these days. It helps that Hargrave, who returns to direct the sequel, was a stuntman and understands how to entertain audiences with ludicrous sequences. The big one in “Extraction 2” being a half-hour interlude all cut and spliced to resemble one continuous take. After watching the scene, there’s obviously no way it was all done in that manner, but considering the lazy filmmaker tactics we’ve seen come out of the Netflix house, we’ll take anything they’ll give us. It’s an impressive feat, and the way it follows a harrowing prison break all the way until a train getaway, with an endless army of bad guys, bullets, and grenades sprinkled throughout, is an early contender for most badass scene of the year. Below “John Wick: Chapter Four” naturally.
Hemsworth returns to the series playing mercenary-for-hire Tyler Rake who, when we last saw him, wasn’t in the greatest shape. He endured hell and sustained plenty of injuries rescuing an important little boy from the clutches of evil renegades. Here, after getting nursed back to health, he’s back in the saddle, and is saving more children! This time, his ex-wife’s sister (!), and two children, need the extract as they remained imprisoned by her Georgian arms dealer husband. Rake enlists his crew, Nik (Golshifteh Farahani) and Yaz (Adam Bessa) to pack up the machine guns and bust them out of their heavily fortified cells.
And it’s not easy. Rake, Nik, and Yaz are put through a gauntlet of relentless mayhem, including a stumble through the jail yard, a jeep chase, and then aboard a speedy train with attack helicopters hanging overhead. “Extraction 2” might fail to reach the nirvana this bonkers clinic in camera movement, action choreography, and slick editing provides, the movie still has some in the reserves. Like a fun throwdown atop a Vienna skyscraper and a grounded hand-to-hand brawl inside a church.
That alone is worthy enough of a click on the ole’ Netflix timeline, especially if you enjoyed elements of its far inferior predecessor. Joe Russo’s script doesn’t have any memorable dialogue, but who needs it when the action comes locked and loaded? To be sure, there is a tease for “Extraction 3” tacked on at the end of this thing and usually I’d loathe the idea of having to sit through another one of these direct-to-streaming clunkers, but in this rare instance, I’m ready for another round.
EXTRACTION 2 streams on Netflix Friday, June 16th.