Extraction 2
Photograph: Courtesy Netflix
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Extraction 2

4 out of 5 stars

Chris Hemsworth is an unsmiling, unkillable operative in this crunchingly visceral Netflix action-thriller

Phil de Semlyen

Time Out says

What made Chris Hemsworth the Avengers’ MVP – and he was, don’t argue – was his natural knack for joyous self-spoofing as much as his gift for punching evil Marvel entities across the galaxy and wielding a massive hammer like it was a toothpick.

The beefy Aussie is such a natural at comedy that this breakneck, stern-jawed Netflix action-thriller – again co-written by Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo – misses a trick by not employing it. Like his fellow man-on-a-mission John Wick, Hemsworth’s elite operative Tyler Rake, initially found recuperating in a snowbound cabin, doesn’t come packing too many lols. Having a pet chicken and a tragic back story is as far as he gets towards cuddly. 

If that’s a major downside here, there’s plenty of upside in a sequel that improves significantly on its hit predecessor. If you like your action flicks lean, mean and to the point, director and one-time stuntman Sam Hargrave has delivered a dream night on the sofa. The spectacle comes in waves, and some of it even cries out for a much bigger screen. 

Fished out of the river where the first film left him, Rake is reunited with cosmopolitan but lethally resourceful brother-and-sister team, Nik (Golshifteh Farahani) and Yas (Adam Bessa), and is soon in the employ of a cameoing Idris Elba’s mysterious fixer. The new mission? To bust the wife (Tinatin Dalakishvili) and young family of a Georgian mobster out of the anarchic prison in which they’ve been incarcerated purely to keep him company. The chicken will have to fend for itself.

The gangster’s yet-more-ruthless brother (Tornike Gogrichiani) is soon on a hunt for vengeance, a near-spiritual quest that becomes a battle with the sensitive Rake for the soul of the grizzled Georgian’s young nephew, Sandro (Andro Jafaridze). It’s the least interesting part of the film, but does at least offer a breather while everyone reloads. 

Some of the action sucks the air from your lungs

The movie’s highpoint comes early: a non-stop set piece that lasts close to 20 bravura minutes. It spans savage brawls, several gun battles, a car chase through a forest, a train vs helicopter gunship battle – all filmed with a fluid camera in incredibly long takes. At one point, Hemsworth fights a flurry of criminal goons – while on fire. 

Occasionally, the dizzying filmmaking style, a mix of practical stunt work and invisible VFX, feels like a video-game cutscene. More often, it just sucks the air from your lungs. The ending gestures pretty firmly at another sequel to come. It’ll have a tough job upping the ante on this. 

Streaming on Netflix worldwide Jun 16.

Cast and crew

  • Director:Sam Hargrave
  • Screenwriter:Ande Parks, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo
  • Cast:
    • Chris Hemsworth
    • Golshifteh Farahani
    • Idris Elba
    • Adam Bessa
    • Tornike Gogrichiani
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