It’s almost a rite of passage for Australian actors to appear in a TV soap opera, either Neighbours, or Home and Away, or even both, as is the case with Chris Hemsworth, although it was his role as Kim Hyde in Home and Away that got him noticed.
So much so that when he headed Hollywood way, it was only on his fourth film that he got cast to play Marvel’s Thor in 2011. It’s a role he’s certainly made his own, and that he has now become synonymous with, but playing him over seven times on the big screen will do that.
In 2020, he managed to lower his hammer, and take the lead in Extraction, a Netflix original film. Although it didn’t hit the right spot with critics, it did pretty well for Netflix, become the most watched original film in the streaming services history, enjoying over 99 million viewers in its first month of release alone.
This sequel then, comes as no surprise to anyone.
Left for dead after his ordeal in Bangladesh, Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) is rescued by his team mate Nik (Golshifteh Farahani), and taken to a hospital in Dubai. But with him in a coma, it doesn’t look good for the ex Australian Special Air Service Regiment member.
But against the odds, he wakes up, and begins his rehabilitation. When he’s in a fit state to leave, Nik whisks him away to a cabin in the Austrian woods, as she believes it will be the perfect place for his retirement.
Rake soon gets a visitor however, a man named Alcott (Idris Elba) who comes to him with another job, that is riskier than most, but he’s unlikely to turn it down because it involves something close to his heart – his family.
Not long after, Rake finds himself with gun in hand, and doing what he was trained for, to kill on sight.
Here is an example of yet another stunt man getting a stab at directing, like Chad Stahelski with his John Wick franchise. And much like Stahelski, Sam Hargrave gravitates towards the action genre.
There is one huge difference however, in that Hargrave shows a genuine flair for it. He certainly builds on his good work from the original; although based on a graphic novel, and written by a Russo brother – Joe – the story is once again fairly generic.
It builds on Rake’s personal trauma that was present in the first film, and as happened there, where he found himself protecting a young boy, he does the same here, but with a mum and daughter to also protect. This film goes a little further as they are also related, with Rake’s ex-wife being the sister of the mother of two he’s looking after.
But that’s as deep as the story gets. In fact, it has the similar sophistication of an eighties action film, but that’s no bad thing, because this is very much an action flick.
In a way it has a similar feel to the John Wick films, in that as soon as the action starts, it doesn’t slow down. The difference here however, is Hargrave has a better grip on the emotional beats of the action, as opposed to the wearily over-choreographed fighting sequences that litter every John Wick flick. So there are times when you will hold your breath as punches are thrown, gasp when bullets find their targets, and groan with the over-the-top-ness of it all.
It all kicks off fairly early on at a prison, and doesn’t really let up after that, with some fantastic action sequences that won't fail to impress. In fact there a number of them that you could imagine the James Bond team nodding to approvingly, and possibly taking notes. They’re that good.
In fact it wouldn’t be a surprise if Hargrave was a serious contender to direct a future Bond, such is the eye for detail he has for some awesome set pieces.
And you can’t say he doesn’t have a sense of humour, as there’s a nice short scene that briefly features a hammer. And why not.
It’s fair to say that Hemsworth’s character is a little two dimensional, and the story lines for both films are hokey and generic, but with such tour de force action scenes, one after the other, who cares.
Extraction 2 is the perfect action flick, that really packs a punch, where you can just turn your brain off for two hours, soaking up all the bullets as they whizz on by.