Extraction 2 – Chris Hemsworth is Back as the Bad Ass Super-Soldier

MOVIE REVIEW – If you’re a fan of thrilling action sequences, masterful editing and high-octane storytelling, you can’t miss Extraction 2. The Russo brothers’ super-violent adventure film brings action hero extraordinaire Tyler Rake back to the screen, played with such authenticity by Chris Hemsworth, known for his role as Thor, that he looks like a real person. The film does not break the rules of the genre, but it does not aim to do so, focusing instead on quality and effective entertainment. How much is it worth to delve into another adventure of the super-soldier? Well, read on and find out!”



Extraction 2 remains true to the classic action movies. The hero of our story is the kind of killer who no longer wants to kill, but fate keeps bringing him back to this world. The life-threatening action and endless chases only scratch the surface, as the film also shows the heartbreaking realities of life as a mercenary. Combine all of this and you have an action movie mix of devastating violence and internal drama.



Chris Hemsworth: our last action hero


The Russo brothers, best known for their work in the Marvel world, supervised and designed the “Extraction” films, which belong to an increasingly rare genre: big-budget, ultra-violent adventure films. Whether you call the protagonist John Rambo, Jason Bourne or John Wick, the essence of the character is always the same: a fearless killer who wants nothing more than to live in peace, but circumstances keep throwing him back into his old life. He has a tragic past, and he’s constantly mourning it. All of this is always played by an actor who is so brutal in violent scenes that you would think he could take 100 blows to the head, face and torso, survive a gunshot, a knife wound and a concussion from a grenade and still go on.

Critic Robert Brian Taylor calls these films the “sad action hero canon”. Chris Hemsworth is one of the most prominent new members. He plays Tyler Rake – a name probably coined by a young boy for an action hero, but Hemsworth portrays him as an almost real person. He’s an excellent physical actor, perhaps as good as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were in their heyday, but even more versatile. He’s played a scheming philanderer, a legendary computer hacker, a depressed mercenary, a 19th century whaler, a cult leader and the mighty Thor, all convincingly. There’s also a bit of Sean Connery’s self-conscious cockiness. But there’s also a buried sadness, brought out in the “Extraction” films.

Tyler was previously a soldier in the Australian Army Special Forces. He decided to go on another deployment to Afghanistan while his son was battling an incurable disease and was not there when he died. His marriage then broke up and he became a mercenary. The guilt over family and parental failures in Extraction franchise provides the same motivation as the amnesia in the “Bourne” films and



Haunted by the past but never redeemed, only by the inexorable purgatory


Tyler was previously a soldier in the Australian Army Special Forces. He decided to go on another deployment to Afghanistan while his son was battling an incurable illness and was not present when he died. Then his marriage broke up and he became a mercenary. Guilt over marital and parental failure is as much a driving force in the Extraction franchise as amnesia is in the Bourne films and grief in the John Wick series. Tyler’s adventures are redemption stories set in the purgatories of action movies, replete with shadow versions of the hero: flawed fathers who mistreat, neglect or pervert their children, viewing them as extensions of their egos or “brands”. Tyler’s main enemies are these dark parents, who may even be surrogates for Tyler’s own masochistic feelings about how badly he has failed his family.

In the first film, “Extraction”, Tyler rescued the kidnapped son of an Indian drug lord who was being held in Dakka, Bangladesh. The kid was a pawn in a pissing match between rich tyrants with private armies. By taking on the mission, Tyler offered himself up as a kind of karmic punching bag, absorbing the punishment for his past mistakes in an urban hell-purgatory (the setting in the original comic was Paraguay) while serving as a quasi-father figure to the boy he was protecting.

In this film, an unnamed man (Idris Elba, so charming you hope he’ll be in the third film) turns up at the cabin in the woods where Tyler is recovering from the previous mission, bearing a message from his ex-wife, who turns out to be Georgian. Her sister and her children are being held in a Georgian prison by her drug dealer husband, Davi (Tornike Bziava), who has the influence to have them all stay with him. Rake is hired to break the family out of prison and get them away from Davi and his brother Zurab (Tornike Gogrichiani), who is even more of a psychopath. Complications ensue – spiced with lots and lots of action. All you need to know is that the film consists of three long action sequences with some character development sprinkled in. If you’re just looking for action, the story won’t really fill your stomach.



Another train action incoming…


The first is an uninterrupted, 21-minute action sequence in which Tyler and the family are chased across the tundra by a wild prison break onto a train, which is chased by helicopters full of armed, armoured villains. Every gangster who isn’t killed in mid-air jumps on the train and fights Tyler and his two allies Nik (Golshifteh Farahani) and Yaz (Adam Bessa) with guns, fists, knives and any scattered objects. Director Sam Hargrave, a former stunt coordinator who made his directorial debut with the first “Extraction,” takes the digitally stitched, super-long “oner” that audiences were introduced to in films from the middle of the last century such as Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Children of Men” to ostentatious but admittedly dazzling extremes.

Like the long take of the original Extraction, it has a video game feel. Cinematographer Greg Baldi’s camera often takes a first-person or over-the-shoulder perspective, as in a “shooter” game. The point of view moves in and out between moving train cars, changes distance to get tight close-ups of people’s haggard faces or panoramas of moving vehicles and people, and generally does things that defy the laws of physics and the rules of production insurance companies. Despite the Eastern European bluish-grey filters, the bloodshed and the bone crushing, you are aware that the scene is no more “real” than the Avengers’ battle with Thanos. Some of the staged landscapes and helicopters don’t pass the believability test, and some of the big camera moves that take us from outside in and backwards follow the action too deftly and artificially. But it’s all so intricate and expertly timed that one still appreciates it as if it were a devilishly difficult piano concerto, where hitting the notes is beyond the abilities of most players.



I am your father’s John Woo movie


The other two major parts of the film are modelled on the first Die Hard and one of John Woo’s classic doppelganger-battle films (probably The Killer, which like this film climaxes in a candlelit church with doves flying). The films are inventively conceived and virtuosically executed, though the editing is sometimes too frenetic and the cinematography too shaky (Hargrave is often the Russo Bros. ‘tremble equals thrill’ style).

There’s also a subplot about one of the ex-sister-in-law’s children, Sandro (Andro Japaridze), who was raised from birth to be a gangster, like his father and uncle, and who is said to be in a mental crisis in between, between recognising his family’s multi-generational legacy of violence and brainwashing and choosing a different path, or taking up arms against the hero to avenge Tyler, who killed a loved one during a prison break. Anyone who’s seen a “sad action hero” movie knows how this part of the story will play out – Chris Hemsworth won’t be cast – so we’re playing a waiting game.



They also tried to include John Le Carré…


Hemsworth and all those who play characters related to Tyler’s past mistakes and present problems are serious actors and take this job seriously. They delve into the psychological traumas and guilt aspects of Joe Russo’s script, infuse it with a “graphic novel” version of seriousness (i.e. solemnly acted pulp fiction), and briefly elevate Extraction 2 to video game status. But there’s not enough dramatic content, either in the script or in the limited amount of marketable screen time, to satisfactorily flesh out Tyler and his immediate environment. The film is single-mindedly focused on giving viewers more and more and more action. It wants to be both a John le Carré novel and the feature-film equivalent of a shoot-out.

In the first Extraction, Tyler almost succeeded when he befriended an old mercenary buddy, played by David Harbour, who was even more cynical than Tyler and who turned out to be unreliable. Here he comes close again, in a scene where Tyler confronts his deepest regrets directly in a conversation, rather than by meeting them at work as a metaphor. But for the most part, the series hedges its bets to appeal to what it seems to consider its core audience: viewers who consider anything to do with characterisation and mood to be ‘filler’.

Still, you can appreciate the series’ attempts to make military-style shooter adventures a little more relevant to reality, real people and real dilemmas, and to give all the main characters situations that are a step above the usual action movie clichés. While most contemporary Hollywood films target the child in every adult, the Extraction 2 films address the potential adult in every child. Although rated “R”, the ideal audience is 12 years old. The scenes between parents and their disappointed offspring capture the feeling of suddenly realising at a young age that the adults you once respected are human beings who can let you down and often act out.



Extraction 2

Direction - 7.2
Actors - 6.5
Story - 6.4
Visuels/Action - 8.4
Ambience - 6.8



Extraction 2 brings back the fearless killer known in the action movie genre, this time played by Chris Hemsworth. The gritty action, reminiscent of video games, will not disappoint, as the makers have tried to use humanly interesting motifs in a story worthy of the genre - which is fundamentally wooden and simple. That said, this film will be best loved for its great action sequences - a little reminiscent of the eighties...

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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