The whole point of the Extraction franchise is to showcase Chris Hemsworth’s superheroic bravado on a gargantuan scale and make millions out of it. That said, I should clarify: I have absolutely nothing against Hemsworth. The man is literally impossible to dislike. His image is squeaky clean; he has never been associated with a controversy; his Instagram is wholesome as hell; and most essentially, he is an OG Avenger. No matter how wobbly three out of four Thor movies have been, Hemsworth’s charismatic take on the Norse god has always been well-received. That man can literally stand still and still earn a roar from an audience, and you know I am not even exaggerating. That is where Netflix and the Russo brothers saw their golden opportunity and dropped the first movie in the middle of the pandemic. With that becoming a runaway success, a sequel was always inevitable. So now we are here with Extraction 2, which promises to be bigger and better like all sequels do.
There are two basic ways of making good action movies: either make it fun, where you bind the cool action sequences with an engaging script where the audience can get invested in the characters, or make it fun, where you bind the cool action sequences with an engaging script where, for example, the Mission Impossible sequels keep improving over the last one, and even the weakest one has a hell of a lot of rewatching value. Or you can go the Mad Max Fury Road (2015) way, where the action is relentless, and the whole movie is one gigantic spectacle, resulting in the audience having an intense, immersive experience. Extraction 2 (2023) or its predecessor fall into neither categories. Unfortunately, they fall into another category of action movies, which try to do a bit of this and a bit of that while relying way too much on the broad shoulders of their lead stars. Extraction 2, for example, tries its hand at going deep into the characters in between the actions. Sadly, it falls flat thanks to bland writing, which shows a lack of effort. Of course, it gets rescued by its three action set pieces, one of which is absolutely phenomenal. The other two are mostly generic but still work out quite well. In this article, I am going to talk about the action aspect of Extraction 2 in detail. That’s all there is, anyway.
Prison Break: Escape On A Train
This is the most talked-about, almost half-hour-long sequence, which is made in such a way that it looks like one single take. It is also where we see Tyler Rake in his element for the first time in the sequel.
Just when you are getting tired of the routine story build-up, Extraction 2 gets the ball rolling by dropping Tyler in the middle of a Georgian prison. The objective here is to extract Ketevan and her children; they are the family of a Georgian Mafia guy named Davit, who is serving time in prison thanks to throwing a DEA agent off a roof. Davit is keeping his family locked up with him, and he is also the brother of the big baddie of the movie, Zorab. The entire sequence is divided into three parts: the prison escape, followed by an elaborate car chase, and finally, a train ride. Starting with Tyler coolly entering the prison, you follow the character as he locates Ketevan’s cell and gets her out with the kids, but only after handling at least 500-odd maniac prisoners in the middle. The camera is hand-held for most of this part, which only makes the hand-to-hand combat sequences more intense. I thought it was a good plan to get Ketevan involved in the action instead of reducing her to a typical damsel in distress. To comply with the generic tropes, Tyler doesn’t have it easy, as Davit attacks them when Tyler and Ketevan are about to escape after getting the kids to safety. It could only have ended with Ketevan killing her abusive husband, and then that’s exactly what happens, and it is shot in such a way that it looks very satisfying.
The scene quickly shifts to Tyler, who, along with his trusted team members Nik and Yaz, is taking Ketevan and her kids to safety, but with Davit and Zorab’s army of henchmen hot on their heels. The absolutely fanatical car chase sequence is only elevated by the “one take gimmick,” where the audience becomes a part of it. This would have looked glorious in theaters, but the best we can do is get the biggest possible 4K TV to get a complete experience out of it. The madcap action sequence reaches its pinnacle when Tyler and the party take a train to Austria and a helicopter crashes into the engine—the villain gang’s final attempt to stop Tyler in this instance. It obviously doesn’t work, and the good guys manage to escape for the time being. The entire sequence was so beautifully handled that I wouldn’t have minded if it had gone on for another half hour. It is clearly the best thing about the whole movie. But that is where the problem lies.
Sudden Ambush In Vienna
It was only a matter of time for Zorab to find out where Tyler went. That happens thanks to Ketevan’s confused teenage son, Sandro—a “seen many times before” character stuck between his father’s family and his mother’s love. This hardly matters, as it was as inevitable as Thanos. Anyway, what I fail to understand is that even with an infinite amount of money to splurge and the best kind of VFX at their service, the movie does not follow the incredible first action set piece with something bolder. Instead, what we get is the basic stuff: the kind of action involving skyscrapers, rooftops, helicopters, a lot of broken glass, and, of course, our heroes almost being greeted by death while fighting the villain around the ledges. It is still very well shot, though, and looks fun enough to get along with. It is also the first face-off between Tyler and Zorab, which remains unfinished as this time Tyler and the gang escape in a helicopter. But at the cost of Sandro getting himself abducted by his hateful uncle and Yaz losing his life during the fight,
The Final Big Battle In The Church
It was always going to be Tyler versus Zorab in the end, and with Extraction 2 suddenly turning sort of biblical with the bad guys randomly uttering verses from the holy bible, a church being the scene of the final battle makes sense to me. It also brings the necessary grandeur to the scene. With Zorab not being one for physical action, there is not much action in this one. It is more of a battle of the wits, with a bomb wrapped around Sandro’s body. No prizes for guessing who has the trigger. The major issue with movies like Extraction 2 is, however, the curse of predictability. You know for a fact that nothing can happen to Tyler because Netflix is for sure going to make more of these movies. That takes the charm out of it, as you already know what will happen to the villain. So the only way these movies can find redemption is by doing it in such a manner that you are dazed by it. That can happen if they bring in some sort of flair, a kind of edge that would set things apart.
While the final battle sequence of Extraction 2 is very well executed with crisp editing, the use of light in the nighttime settings, and a gorgeous, very cinematic shot of the hero and vision lying beside each other, it does lack punch. It is definitely an upgrade from the climax of the first movie, but not a match when it comes to the incredible prison break sequence.
At the end of the day, Extraction 2 has managed to deliver what it promised. It is indeed better than the first part in every possible aspect, especially in terms of the action sequences. With the very much expected cliffhanger ending, I am sure we will be getting more Extraction movies in the future. If the latest one is taken as a sign, then we can hope for better stuff up ahead.