Friday, June 16, 2023

Extraction 2, on Netflix

Apparently, if you want to kill Tyler Rake, you must drop him in a vat of molten steel, like Robert Patrick in T2. When we last saw Rake in the first film, he fell off a very large bridge in Bangladesh after getting riddled with bullets. However, the film established he could hold his breath under water for a very long time, so there’s that. Regardless, Rake is still alive, so best of luck to all the bad guys who try to kill him in Sam Hargrave’s Extraction 2, which premieres today on Netflix.

At least #2 acknowledges things really looked bad for Rake. As a result, he spends weeks in a coma before undergoing months of rehab. His merc boss Nik Khan just wants him to quietly retire so he can work on all the emotional issues that fueled his near-death wish, but that won’t be happening.

Instead, he agrees to rescue his estranged ex-wife’s sister, young niece, and annoying pre-teen nephew from the heckhole Georgian Republic prison, where they are forced to live with the druglord brother-in-law. Clearly, Davit Radiani still has the juice to demand such accommodations, despite being convicted of murdering an American DEA agent. Understandably, being incarnated with the abusive Radiani is slowly killing Ketevan and her children, but the worshipful Sandro is too brainwashed to see his father’s true nature, or that of his psychotic uncle Zurab. Regardless, Rake will bust them out anyway, whether Sandro likes it or not, with the reluctant help and considerable logistical support provided by Khan and her younger brother Yaz.

The first
Extraction, also helmed by Hargrove and written by the Russo Brothers and graphic novelist Andre Parks, had plenty of action and considerable body-count, but #2 surpasses it in all ways. As fans would expect, Chris Hemsworth’s Rake is still quite a one-man killing machine.

However, the big news is how Iranian exile Golshifteh Farahani really comes into her own as a breakout action star. Khan was also part of the climactic shoot-out in #1, but she possibly caps as many bad guys in #2 as Rake does. She is in the thick of it, right from the start, but it is not to make any stilted statement. Khan and Rake are really partners in the on-screen action (technically, he works for her, but you get the point).

That said, Hemsworth still anchors the most brutal hand-to-hand beatdown, as Rake escorts Ketevan through a full-on prison riot, which even overshadows the complicated escape sequence it bleeds into, involving cars, helicopters, and a speeding train. #2 features an extended 21-minute long-take, but viewers will not really notice the technique, because the stunt work is so intense.

During the rare quiet moments, Farahani and Hemsworth develop a rapport (partly that of comrades and partly that of friends) that gives the film some heart. They are terrific together and when fulfilling their action duties. Plus, Adam Bessa compliments them nicely aa Yaz.

It is also gives the film further cred when veteran martial arts performer Daniel Bernhardt turns up as Zurab’s henchmen, Konstantine. Idris Elba only appears briefly as the shadowy hiring agent, but chews as much scenery as he can in his limited screen-time.

If you liked #1, you will be even more enthusiastic about #2. (If you didn’t like #1, then no promises.) Those who admired Farahani’s serious films, like
Chicken with Plums, The Patience Stone, and Shelter, should appreciate seeing her in a new light (hopefully, the Iranian regime will see her in this film and get a little scared). Highly recommended for fans of guns-blazing action, Extraction 2 starts streaming today (6/16) on Netflix.