Hollywood | Chris Hemsworth’s, adrenaline-pumping action and pulse-pounding thrills in Extraction 2
Have you ever wondered how characters in spy and action movies can come up with witty remarks even in life-threatening situations? It’s a genre cliche that is also present in Extraction 2, a movie that is devoid of humor but filled to the brim with bone-crunching action. This sequel to the first Chris Hemsworth-led franchise is bigger and bolder with more relentless action, but it still relies on a thin plot just like its predecessor.
Director Sam Hargrave did not prioritize a meaty plot in Extraction 2, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This franchise has always been about adrenaline-pumping action, visceral stunts, and the unique selling point of one-shot action set-pieces. The first movie had a non-stop 12-minute barrage of action, and its sequel has an even more breathless 21-minute oner. The insane action sequence alone makes up for the movie’s flaws. It starts in an underground prison in Georgia, moves to a car chase through a jungle, and then to a train with heavily-armed helicopters shooting from the sky. The sequence is intricately choreographed, niftily crafted, and slam-dunks the viewer into the heart of the action.
As a stuntman and second-unit director who had doubled Chris Evans on the Avengers movies, Hargrave knows what this franchise demands – giddy action even if it comes at the cost of logic and emotion. In Extraction 2, there is more scope for emotion than in the first film, as things get personal for Tyler Rake. He has to rescue his ex-wife’s sister and her two kids from the captivity of her extremist husband and brothers who call themselves Nagazi.
The Extraction films are best enjoyed for their pulpy, no-holds-barred DNA, and this highly cranked-up sequel channels everything from Jason Bourne to John Wick, with a generous dose of Ethan Hunt’s ‘mission impossible’ antics. However, it also has the distinction of making Tyler Rake his own unique beast. Chris Hemsworth’s gruffly efficient lead presence adds a huge amount of cinematic adrenaline to the film.
Extraction 2 ends on a cliffhanger, preparing the ground for at least one more film. For whatever it’s worth, the second film does improve considerably on Extraction’s stake to being the next heavyweight action franchise.
I have often wondered how characters in spy/action films, in moments that separate life from death, are always armed with a smart quip, a wisecrack, a quick comeback…. How does one even rustle up a sense of humour in that life-hanging-by-a-thread situation? Genre-cliche pressure demands that also of Extraction 2which otherwise, is completely bone dry. What it does have in abundance — and that was the memo that the first film followed faithfully as well — is bone-crunching action… unfettered, non-stop, incessant, relentless. And that’s what makes the second film in the Chris Hemsworth-led franchise bigger and bolder than Part One. Better? Not really, given that like Extractionthis one too also rests on a wafer-thin script.
A meaty plot, however, is nowhere on director Sam Hargrave’s list of priorities. Which isn’t really a bad thing when it comes to Extraction. This is a franchise which has built itself on adrenaline-pumping action, pulse-pounding thrills, visceral stunts and the unique selling point of that one-shot action set-piece — if it was a non-stop 12-minute barrage of action in Extractionwe now have a breathless 21-minute oner in its sequel.
Before we get to the rest of Extraction 2, let’s discuss that insane sequence, which alone (almost) makes up for the film’s flaws. The action starts from an underground prison in Georgia, moves to a car chase through a jungle and then to a train, complete with heavily-armed helicopters shooting from the sky. It’s intricately choreographed, niftily crafted, breathlessly executed and slam-dunks the viewer right in the middle of the action. No matter how small a screen you watch this on, the thwacks and thumps, the chops and kicks will sucker-punch you in the gut.
Hargrave, a stuntman and second-unit director who had doubled Chris Evans on the Avengers movies, knows exactly what this franchise demands — giddy action, even if it comes at the cost of logic (what’s that?!) and emotion.
In fact, there is more scope for emotion in Extraction 2 than in the first film, given that things get personal here for Tyler Rake. At the end of the first film, the mercenary-for-hire had been knocked off a bridge by a bullet in Bangladesh. The first scene of the sequel starts off exactly from that point with Rake — Hemsworth has almost perfected playing the man, armed with a kind of an eye-on-the-target, grizzly bear demeanour — being airlifted from the kind of dusty and dirty yellow backdrop that most Hollywood films use to depict countries in the Indian subcontinent, and spending a considerable time in a coma before he is packed off by his colleagues Nik (Golshifteh Farahani, who excels in this film) and Yaz (Adam Bessa has fun while it lasts) to the snowy climes of Vienna on a semi-retirement stint.
But it isn’t long before a ‘job’ comes his way, courtesy of a stranger — played by a certain Idris Elba. Rake has to rescue a woman and her two kids from the captivity of her husband and his brothers, the leaders of a self-styled extremist group that call themselves Nagazi. What’s personal for Rake? The woman — Ketevan, played by Tinatin Dalakishvili — is his ex-wife’s sister.
To go any deeper into the plot (written by Joe Russo) and players of Extraction 2 would be a silly exercise given that Tyler rescues his (former) family with the same amount of emotion (or the lack of it) as he would for any other job.
But the Extraction films, particularly this highly cranked-up sequel, are best enjoyed for their pulpy, no-holds-barred DNA. The action comes straight at the audience like a sledgehammer, and after the initial extraction, the second and the third acts are mostly dedicated to just new sequences of action, with different locations and different scenarios for Rake to get out of.
Extraction 2 channels everything from Jason Bourne to John Wick, with a generous dose of Ethan Hunt’s ‘mission impossible’ antics, but also has the distinction of making Tyler Rake his own unique beast. Hemsworth is a gruffly efficient lead whose presence adds a huge amount of cinematic adrenaline to the film.
What also works in the sequel is that Hargrave understands which action sequences resonated the most in the original, and while he’s clever enough to make sure he’s not replicating them straight up, he uses the same techniques in fresh and interesting ways.
Extraction 2 ends on a cliffhanger, preparing the ground for at least one more film. For whatever it’s worth, the second film does improve considerably on Extraction’s stake to being the next no-nonsense heavyweight action franchise.