Having already teased his pivot from brainless superhero segments to hopeful action star, Chris Hemsworth carries his megastar burdens into Extraction 2. Aptly titled action sequels are hard to come by, but the Netflix original plonks a number next to the original title and has done with it. Simplicity of good form as this is hard to come by and thoroughly respectable when it happens. Too much overlap, and too many boardroom meetings deciding which reactionary noun to throw onto the end of a sequel. Numbers do well. Extraction 2 does too. Another fine action flick from the Hemsworth and Sam Hargrave pairing which made the first so watchable. Burdened by the heat of the British summer, it feels a little déjà vu heading into the sequel, when viewing the first was much the same experience.
But this comes not just from the horrors of the warm weather but from the similarities between the two in tone and style. Grizzled veterans here, and a vastly improved structure in place of the first. Where the flashy visuals and respectable charm of the first feature fell from grace through its particularly forgettable story and desire to hold itself up on flash action and a teasing build to an unremarkable end, Extraction 2 picks up where the first left off. Good luck remembering it. No need, and as Tyler Rake is reintroduced looking paler than most of the sun-fearing British public, the tenderness through his rehabilitation is strikingly open and emotionally tense. Extraction 2 is happy to let its story take hold in these early moments, to give the action time to develop somewhere off in the background, and it works nicely. A vast improvement over the first.
Gangsters are the new threat, identifying a true and certain villain is the real desire of any modern action film. There is no good within him and though a step back from the layered approach of grey area baddies the heyday of the genre once had, the tensions of the good against evil simplicity are nicely managed. Creative bits of gory wonder are thrown in to keep the mind moving in the right direction, the inevitable showdown is not the problem, the build towards it must be as perfect as possible. Extraction 2 flounders sometimes but at its core is the John Wick mentality of faux retirement and the desire to settle old wounds. Hemsworth is quick to adapt his character to this lumbering retirement and the inevitable call back to action, but Hargraves’ direction gives a convincing and tender push back into the fold of action.
Action is rewarding and the tension which comes from the star of the show bleeds well into familial dramas which are extended a little too far for their own good. Idris Elba appearing in a solid action film for the first time in who knows how long is as rewarding as the generally strong feeling found in the dark and dreary Eastern European history found in Extraction 2. Handled with care and blowing out some chilling gang warfare as it does so, a fine line is successfully walked for Hemsworth and company here. One of the few action films to have a convincing line about medical TikTiok and an emotionally complex core in equal measure.