Directed by: Sam Hargrave
Premise: A sequel to the 2020 film. Mercenary Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) is recruited to rescue the wife and children of a gangster and evacuate them to safety.
What Works: The end of 2020’s Extraction implied that Tyler Rake had died completing his mission. The opening of the sequel retcons that ending but does so in a way that generally feels credible. Rake suffered severe injuries in the course of the first film and Extraction 2 takes its time getting started, allowing Rake the space to heal and the motivation to return to the battlefield. Extraction 2 fulfills its obligation as a sequel, raising the stakes, deepening the characters, and expanding the story world. The first film established Tyler Rake and his team as elite mercenaries and gave Rake a bit of a backstory. The sequel expands that idea and intertwines the rescue mission with Rake’s personal history in ways that give the action an additional personal edge. The family theme is done well here and allows for some twists; this is a much better use of the family theme than virtually any of the Fast & Furious movies. The main attraction of the Extraction films is the action and the sequel exceeds its predecessor with a series of impressively crafted set pieces. Most remarkable is the prolonged breakout sequence which has impressive continuity of action. Like the Raid films, Extraction 2 has a grasp of storytelling rhythm and despite how much action the film contains it never gets monotonous.
What Doesn’t: Extraction 2 places two children in the action and the rescue team kills a whole lot of henchmen in front of the kids. That’s a legitimate storytelling choice but the young actors don’t really react to all of this death. Following the norms of shoot-‘em-up action filmmaking, the deaths have the equivalent consequences of killing a bad guy in a video game. The presence of the children highlights the callousness with which people are dispatched in this film and the moviemakers squander an opportunity by underplaying the trauma experienced by these children. Also like a lot of other action films, Extraction 2 includes a number of instances in which the heroes carry on after suffering serious injuries. While this is normal for the genre, it’s at odds with the emphasis on Rake’s injuries and recovery at the beginning of the film.
Disc extras: Available on Netflix.
Bottom Line: Extraction 2 is an excellent action sequel. It elevates everything that worked in the first film and surpasses its predecessor.
Episode: #956 (July 9, 2023)