Extraction 2 is a true action spectacle that tightens the flaws of its predecessor and offers a richer, more engaging story of family and loyalty.
Upon its release in 2020, Netflix’s Extraction quickly rose to the top of the streaming service’s most-watched projects ever made – so despite any indications that protagonist Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) had been killed at the end of the movie, it never should’ve been any surprise that Extraction 2 was on the way. But unlike many seemingly unnecessary sequels to huge commercial successes, Extraction 2 actually takes on board the criticisms of its first part and eliminates them, forging a story that’s infinitely more compelling and bringing back the slick choreography that made the original such a worldwide success.
Extraction 2 picks up nine months after its predecessor’s explosive conclusion, seeing Rake dragged into another mission after slowly recovering from the injuries that he sustained at the hands of a violent Indian crime circle – but this time, it’s personal. The call comes from Rake’s ex-wife Mia, whose sister is being held captive by her abusive husband: an imprisoned Georgian crime lord. Extraction 2’s decision to give Rake some personal stakes in this rescue is the movie’s saving grace, and it avoids all those criticisms of bland, hollow storytelling that can be validly thrown towards the original. The story actually feels important for the first time, and there’s a reason for these characters to be involved – beyond just money.
One of the main reasons that Extraction performed poorly with critics was the lack of depth and purpose to the characters. Rake was a pretty one-dimensional assassin without any real backstory, Saju (Randeep Hooda) was just fighting for the biggest payday, and Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal) was a walking, talking plot device. There was nothing to really care about in the story, but Extraction 2 finally gives the audience a reason to invest themselves in this high-stakes narrative. Having Rake’s family in the story finally gives the character an opportunity to open up a little, and the movie’s villains are actually motivated by something deeper than surface-level revenge. It’s a much stronger story, and while the movie still has its weaknesses, its ability to overcome the greatest flaw of its first part is a huge accomplishment and proof that this franchise cares about its audience.
That being said, Extraction 2 does essentially follow the exact same formula as the first entry in this series. The movie rushes through a little exposition at the beginning, then showcases its pitch-perfect choreography with a half-hour long continuous action set piece that’s undoubtedly the highlight of the movie, before something goes wrong and the characters are forced to pick up the pieces and complete the extraction. On paper, it’s exactly the same movie, and while Extraction 2 just about does enough to distinguish itself from the original, it still feels like we’ve seen much of this before.
Thankfully, those one-shot action scenes are simply that good, and it’s impossible to complain about a single moment of watching them. The level of control and restraint that director Sam Hargrave displays in his execution of the movie’s stunning set pieces is just unmatched, and will be talked about in the same fashion as franchises like John Wick and Mission: Impossible. They’re bigger, bolder, and bloodier than Extraction in every possible way, which is exactly what this movie needed to make itself exceed expectations and avoid falling into the shadow of the first part.
The third act does falter slightly, and maybe it’s just because of its inability to live up to the blood-pumping intensity of the first two, but it feels slightly rushed and underwhelming in comparison. The emotional payoffs are all there, and they’re well deserved, but when a movie has proven that it’s capable of such incredible action and choreography, it’s hard to accept those moments that are simply ‘good’. Regardless, Extraction 2 remains leagues more exciting and engaging than the first installment, and if it encounters even half as much success as Extraction, there’s every possibility this could become Netflix’s next big franchise – and we won’t be complaining.
Extraction 2 will be available to stream on Netflix on June 16, 2023. Read our review of Extraction.