Extraction 2 (2023) Movie Review: A grittier, grander, and gorier sequel

It is quite unusual for a sequel to be significantly better than the original. That just isn’t the norm in the movie industry. There have been a few rare instances when that has proved to be untrue. Coppola did it with The Godfather and Nolan did it with The Dark Knight, as just two examples. And now Sam Hargrave has done it with Extraction 2!

This new instalment is a vast improvement over the original, which itself was not too shabby. The action sequences are more ambitious and immersive, Tyler Rake’s high-stakes personal battles are more grounded in drama, and Idris Elba’s cameo might just mean we have a budding franchise on our hands.

Extraction 2 picks up from the last movie when Tyler Rake was shot and fell into the river. His body washes ashore and is picked up by Nik’s operatives. Although Tyler contently retires in a remote location hidden from the rest of the world, he is soon called back into action. Alcott (Elba), a weird, suave man shows up at his cabin and presents him with a request from Mia, Tyler’s ex-wife. Her sister Ketevan is in deep trouble with her husband, Davit.

He is a powerful crime lord in Georgia, who is intent on keeping his family with him in prison, despite his decade-long sentence. Rake’s job is to extract Ketevan and his kids from the prison. But in the process, he is forced into killing Davit. His brother, Zurab, throws the kitchen sink at Rake and his team as he comes after them to avenge his brother’s life. He also seeks to kill Ketavan, whom he holds responsible.

Extraction 2, like the recently released John Wick 4, has three heavy-set action sequences that form the majority of the film. Together, they comprise breathtaking action that comes at you with pace and gory violence. In terms of narrative direction, Extraction 2 is guided by these big scenes and does not have many layers so to speak. Tyler’s one-man mission in the Georgian prison is hands down amongst the most intense action scenes we have seen this year. The choreographers have really pushed the mantle to the hilt with this one.

Hargrave just about manages to sculpt some narrative around these action scenes to make the characters more grounded in their emotional turmoil. One creative choice is centred around Sandro’s decision-making and his conflicted mind about joining the Nagazi or staying with the man who killed his father. This brings the significance of Davit and Zurab’s backdrop into the limelight. It’s a serious attempt to contextualize the brothers’ personalities and ideologies in life. In hindsight, it also gives more weight and gravitas to the villains, who don’t usually get too much attention.

Rake’s past demons, which originated in Extraction, confront him in the sequel. Mia’s resurfacing ensures that Rake gets closure on how he sees himself in his son’s eyes. This provides emotional moments of top-notch acting when Mia reveals how their son really sees him.

Yaz and Nik’s arcs also put a lot of meaning into Extraction 2,  which ensures viewers can form a bond beyond the hardcore action. Even though the decision to push these dramatic moments extends the runtime a little bit, they will prove to be important cogs if the franchise is developed to its full extent.

Hemsworth has surely become the stuff of legend, leading another authentic action film. He somehow betters his acting from the previous film as he portrays a man who is both an elite mercenary and a soulless father looking for redemption. The “wraith and the hero” duality of Rake’s character might not seem to be integral in the scheme of the film. But it is an important milestone in Hemsworth’s career and the general notion of protagonists in action films also.

Golshifteh Farahani gives a standout performance as Nik and adds gravitas to Rake and Nik’s partnership, making it unconventional but refreshing to watch. Tornike Gogrichian (Zurab), Adam Bessa (Yaz), and Tinatin Dalakishvili (Ketevan) also deliver decent portrayals of their characters.

Extraction 2 is another addition to the growing list of blockbusters that have been released this year. Viewers will not only get what the makers promise at the outset – breathtaking action sequences – but will also be surprised by its dramatic undertones which are pivotal in establishing the film as a serious contender. 

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  • Verdict - 7/10

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