Back in 2020, Chris Hemsworth, Joe Russo, and Sam Hargrave collaborated on Extraction, which quickly became Netflix’s most-viewed original movie. It was an interesting experiment in the art of the action thriller, and even though there wasn’t really narrative room for a sequel, Extraction 2 was greenlit.
Now, three years later, fans are reunited with Tyler as he embarks on yet another dangerous mission. But the result isn’t exactly a success — it’s a great short film sandwiched inside a mediocre feature.
The last we saw Tyler, he was surely done for. He was shot in the neck in Dhaka and fell into the river, seemingly dead. What Extraction 2 presupposes is: what if he wasn’t? The high stakes of Tyler’s fate at the end of the first movie are solved through a frantic montage of combat medics, a couple of scenes in a hospital, and a “forced retirement” to a cabin. While there, he, of course, wistfully watches videos of the son we learned he lost in the first movie. It’s a very tropey opening, but the tropes are comforting.
But when a mission arises in the form of a big cameo (and mysterious new character) Tyler decides to do one more job. Sure, he’s still recovering from literally being shot in the neck, but that’s nothing an alpine-themed training montage can’t fix. Reunited with his old crew, Tyler stages a prison break to rescue a family, and it’s here that Extraction 2 finally comes into its own.
Extraction made waves due to its 12-minute “oner” — a scene shot seamlessly with no jump cuts. Extraction 2 does its predecessor better with a 21-minute action scene. It’s by far the centerpiece of the entire endeavor, with all the glitz of a Mission Impossible stunt and the raw testosterone and “hell yeah” vibes of the Fast and Furious franchise.
Just when you think it’s over, something else shocking happens. You’ll check your texts once and then look up to see Tyler punch guards with a fist that is literally on fire.
However, once the oner is over, it’s an arduous journey to the next action scene. The film has learned from Extraction’s iffy white-savior politics and moved the conflict from India to Georgia (the country). The story explores father-son ties and familial loyalty, but it ranges from generally interesting at best to visual Teflon at worst. Chris Hemsworth is giving it his all, but at points, this script is so unsalvagable, no amount of combat medics could save it.
It all forces the viewer to make a decision: this is a Netflix release, not a theatrical film, so anyone could just fast-forward to the good stuff. In fact, it begs the question: why wasn’t the oner just released as a short film? It’s the most impressive part of the film, plays great without context, and by itself echoes earlier standalone combat like Monty Oum’s Haloid and Dead Fantasy.
Extraction 2’s action scenes are so great, they’ve outgrown the plot they live in. Unfortunately, that’s not really part of the action movie archetype, so 90 minutes of hemming and hawing about Tyler’s guilt and crime family drama come with the territory. But in an ideal world, Extraction 2 is just the oner — exquisite, passionate, expensive, and well-executed.