When Extraction hit streaming in April 2020, it came as a welcome action distraction in a pandemic landscape bereft of blockbusters. This sequel arrives to a far more crowded field, but if anything it’s more eye-catching and considerably bigger in scale. Director Sam Hargrave and star Chris Hemsworth have clearly pushed themselves and one another to go harder, higher and bloodier than ever.
We open with a reminder that Hemsworth’s Tyler Rake (still a ridiculous name) basically died last time. Slightly refreshingly, he does not immediately shrug it off, enduring months of rehab and serious impairment for the first act of the film. Then, of course, he’s back to 100 per cent form in no time — or by normal human standards, about 150 per cent.
The call back into action comes not via his usual BFF and manager Nik (Golshifteh Farahani) but via a mysterious man (Idris Elba), a messenger from his ex-wife. It turns out she needs him to rescue her sister from a Georgian prison, where her powerful drug-dealer husband Davit (Tornike Bziava) has been keeping her and their kids close at hand. Rake will have to go in, rescue the woman and children, and get them away from both Davit and his even more menacing brother, Zurab (Tornike Gogrichiani). What could go wrong?
Hargrave, a stuntman turned director, knows where to put his camera for maximum impact.
Well, practically everything. From the moment that Rake is reunited with his ex-sister-in-law the plan goes pear-shaped, with a riot breaking out in the prison and a getaway complicated by Zurab’s improbably well-prepared strike teams. Hargrave and Hemsworth have hyped up the film’s quasi-oner, but the relentless pace of the prison escape lives up to the hype as Rake takes on all comers, and an integrated series of transport solutions, to get the small family out of their uncle’s sphere of influence.
Hargrave, a stuntman turned director, knows where to put his camera for maximum impact, and genuinely disturbing foley work showcases sounds of crunching bones and splattering blood. You feel every punch land. By comparison, Henry Jackman and Alex Belcher’s score often drops out entirely, replaced by the remorseless rhythm of semi-automatic weapon fire and helicopter blades. A couple of extended action sequences threaten to get too much, but Hargrave just about pulls it back, and adds a couple of witty touches, once again employing a rake as a deadly weapon and putting in what’s surely a deliberate nod to Thor for a giggle.
It’s shot with the same rather trite colour coding as the last movie: where Dhaka suffered from that awful yellow filter, Georgia and central Europe are, apparently, naturally tinged blue-grey at all times. But otherwise, this is a compelling example of the action genre. There’s more emotional depth than its ’80s forebears would have allowed, and a neat throughline about sibling relationships and what it means to be there for the ones you love. Gogrichiani is a compelling baddie, and Hemsworth, who was heartbroken and barely holding it together last time, works through a few issues as well as scores of disposable baddies here. Now if he can just stop getting stabbed, shot and burnt, he could have a bright future.