Extraction 2 review: "Underwritten story, incredible action"

Extraction 2
(Image: © Netflix)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

The story and villains are instantly forgettable, but Extraction 2 ups the action ante. The 21-minute oner will leave you floored.

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Released in 2020, the first outing for Chris Hemsworth’s black-ops mercenary Tyler Rake remains one of the most-watched original films in Netflix history. The wait for a sequel is finally over with Extraction 2, which seriously ups the action ante but - like its predecessor - suffers script and story issues. 

We pick up with Rake shortly after the events of the first movie, as he recovers from his major - but evidently not fatal - injuries. ‘Retirement’ doesn’t last long, though: enter swaggering man of mystery Alcott (Idris Elba), who arrives at Rake’s cabin with a job offer that can’t be refused. Yep, this time it’s personal: Rake’s mission involves having to finally face the past he’s long been running away from. 

The higher stakes feed into a more emotional performance from Hemsworth this time round, one that peels back Rake’s layers to reveal a vulnerable, broken man. The ever-reliable star’s rounded-out portrayal ensures our hero isn’t just a one-note killing machine. 

Still… if there’s one thing Rake remains a master of, it’s bumping off the bad guys - and oh boy, he does it in serious style here. Fast-paced, explosive, ultra-violent, the incredible action scenes will have you cheering from your sofa, sending the popcorn flying. 

Back at the helm, veteran stunt-coordinator-turned-director Sam Hargrave is a dab hand at pumping energy into set pieces, the highlight being the already famous, jaw-flooring 21-minute one-shot prison break. That sequence alone makes E2 worthy of any action fan’s watchlist. 

Shame, then, that once again both story and supporting characters are shallow and underwritten. Elba has cocky fun with his brief screen time, but Golshifteh Farahani still has little to do as Tyler’s fellow merc Nik - a promising figure crying out for stronger material. The villains, meanwhile, are instantly forgettable, despite attempts to give them a backstory via some awful, cringeworthy flashbacks. 

But when the action’s this good, with another great death-by-rake (as in the garden implement) scene, does it really matter too much that the narrative’s not really up to scratch? Whatever the shortcomings, the climactic threequel tease will have fans welcoming the promise of more mayhem. 

Extraction 2 is available on stream on Netflix from June 16. Read our interviews with director Sam Hargrave breaking down that 21-minute action scene and Idris Elba joining the franchise.

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Emily Murray
Entertainment Editor

As Entertainment Editor at GamesRadar, I oversee all the online content for Total Film and SFX magazine. Previously I've worked for the BBC, Zavvi, UNILAD, Yahoo, Digital Spy and more.