Director: Sam Hargrave
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Golshifteh Farahani, Adam Bessa, Olga Kurylenko, Daniel Bernhardt, Tinatin Dalakishvili, Idris Elba, Andro Japaridze, Levan Saginashvili
Duration: 122 mins.
From Paul Bramhall
In the closing scene of 2020 Extraction, we saw Chris Hemsworth riddled with bullets and left for dead in Bangladesh, fall off a bridge into the river below to set sail into the afterlife. Except for, Extraction it’s an action movie, and if there’s one thing the action genre has taught us, it’s that you can’t hold back a good guy. By Jason Statham in Crank to Scott Adkins in The debt collectorrelatively getting hit by a few bullets and plummeting to your presumed death is one of the more plausible comebacks of recent times, and certainly 3 years later we have Extraction 2.
Picking up soon after the events of the original, Hemsworth is found by the river and transferred to Dubai, where he eventually regains consciousness after spending 9 months in a coma. Introduced to retirement by his former team mates, played by a returning Golshifteh Farahani (Bright side) and Adam Bessa (Of sound mind) as mercenary brothers, is hosted in a remote cabin in the Austrian wilderness. However, his new peaceful life is soon interrupted by an agent who shows up on his porch, played by a cameo Idris Elba (Beast), who offers him a job. Extract a mother and her 2 children from a prison in Georgia where they are held against them will of her husband, one of the most feared gangsters in the country who is serving time there. While initially not interested, he soon reconsiders when it is revealed that the job was requested by his ex-wife and that his mother is his ex-sister-in-law.
Work is due to take place 6 weeks later, so cue a 20-second montage consisting of Hemsworth lifting and hauling a variety of heavy rocks, and just like that he’s ready to enter perhaps the fastest-paced rehab ever put on screen. From there, the action starts, a lot! Let’s be honest, the action is exactly what the audience is recording on Extraction 2 for and returning director Sam Hargrave (Unlucky stars) is smart enough to know that. Coming from the field of stuntmen-turned-directors mentored by the likes of David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, Extraction it was his debut in the director’s chair and he proved to be a competent slice of action cinema. The sequel is his second feature film as a director (he would register an action consultant credit in 2022 in the meantime interceptora vehicle for Hemsworth’s wife, Elsa Pataky), and it quickly becomes clear that the mission here is to go from strength to strength.
For action-seeking audiences, that’s good news. Much was made of the 12-minute action sequence in the original, and here Hargrave and his action team try to top it by creating a 20-minute take. It’s an admirable ambition, with the current popularity around one-shot action sequences dating back to the Staircase Brawl in 2017 Atomic blondeof which Hargrave was part of the fight choreography team. Extraction 2 he brings a similar amount of talent on board for his action sequences, with 3 credited fight choreographers in the form of Travis Gomez (Chief level), New Sun (The great wall), and Kaiser Tin-u (The last manhunt). Here the sequence to get the one-shot treatment is the extraction of the family from prison, and it’s an adrenaline-pumping ride that includes gunfights, an epic prison yard brawl and a vehicular chase that includes armored vehicles, motorcycles, helicopters and even a train.
I know there are some action fans out there who complain about the single shot, as it’s actually usually several shots that have been edited together in post to make them look seamless, but I’m personally not one of them, and considers the technique a real advance in action cinema. It looks like a wire in classic Hong Kong action movies – audiences either love it or hate it. For me, I enjoy one-take scenes in much the same way I enjoy watching someone fly across the room after getting kicked, even though I know they’re on a wire. It still takes a lot of skill to be able to execute, and Hargrave and crew pulled out all the stops for the sequence here.
If I were being cynical, I’d say that much of the best action in the sequel sounds like the best of 21st Asian action cinema of the century served for a Western audience. Prison Yard Brawl obviously takes its cue from a similar sequence in Raid 2the whole helicopter vs. train scene seems to be indebted to thanks Carter (Is Jung Byung-gil the most influential action director out there right now? His movie’s motion scene The wickedness has also been replicated in John Wick 3), the final fight in the church resembles the ending in Blazing fireand several killing techniques are taken directly from The raid. While such influences will be apparent to any fan of Asian cinema, it’s to Hargrave’s credit that none of them feel derived from their source, and there’s a feeling of genuine sincerity and appreciation in how they’ve been incorporated into the narrative.
The Prison Yard Brawl is particularly daring in its execution, as much of it takes place without any soundtrack, an action film that many would consider an essential ingredient (I always point out the soundtrack used for Iko Uwais vs. Cecep Arif Rahman fight Raid 2 as a perfect example of how music can elevate a fight scene). It takes a significant amount of confidence to rely solely on the strength of the choreography and the physicality of those performing it to sell the scene, but Hemsworth and the many stuntmen who populate it do a stellar job of doing exactly that. Thankfully there’s plenty of originality on display in the design of the action too, with one particular physical damage involving a hand being the highlight (you’ll know as soon as you see it) and a fight taking place in a gym allowing for some creative choreography. incorporating fitness equipment.
Whenever the action isn’t on screen, Extraction 2 fares less well, with any attempt to add drama falling spectacularly flat. Olga Kurilenko (Princess) cameos as Hemsworth’s ex-wife, and a scene where they discuss how he left for a tour of duty in Afghanistan while leaving their terminally ill son in the hospital packs more cringe than the expected emotional punch. It’s not that it’s all that badly acted that, as an audience, we have no investment in their loss since so little time was spent on it. Throwing an emotionally intense scene out of nowhere was never going to work.
As the ruthless villain of the piece, Tornike Gogrichiani (Neighborhood) ironically gets the most well-developed character out of them all. Playing the brother of Hemsworth’s ex-sister-in-law’s husband (he was a mouthful – in short, he’s Die hard with a vengeance Jeremy Irons A By Die Hard Alan Rickman), is also a feared gangster, and proceeds to plot a trail of revenge to kill Hemsworth and his extended family no matter what the cost. Gogrichiana’s crew is made up of the likes of hulking Levan Saginashvili (regarded as the strongest arm wrestler in the world) and former UFC fighter Megan Anderson, who make for some satisfying physical fights between bullets and RPGs. A further element of tension is introduced by the rescued son who feels conflicted about where his loyalties lie: with his mother who wanted to escape the life of crime or with his pursuing uncle who wants to bring him into the fold.
i don’t like the John Wick franchise there is a lack of pretentiousness in the no-nonsense Extraction movies, and they should be applauded all the more for being one of the few action productions out there that doesn’t try to replicate the “one shot one kill” style that Keanu Reeves’ franchise popularized. Extraction 2 offers up to 2 hours of solid action entertainment, delivers exactly what it set out to do, and does it way better than most action movies out there. While the original’s ending left a degree of ambiguity as to whether or not we’d get a sequel, it’s much clearer here, with Idris Elba returning in the final scene to offer Hemsworth another “job.” Let’s hope he takes it.
Paul Bramhall Rating: 8/10