Hargrave comes from the world of stunt work, and there’s no doubt a lot of stunt work even in the middle of the CG in “Extraction 2.” But the combination of its directing, Greg Baldi’s cinematography, and Alex Rodriguez’s editing implies a lack of confidence in the depiction of the action presented at any given moment. Instead of letting the camera pull back to allow the audience to get a clear idea of a scene’s spatial choreography, it mirrors the movement of the characters and instead creates a visually cacophonous experience. If Tyler moves his body left to confront a villain, the camera often feels the need to do the same, so we’re rarely able to get the full view of what’s going on. That’s why the first sequence becomes so exhausting, so quickly. It’s not just the growing sense that so little of what’s depicted in the 21-minute section seems to have practically happened, it’s that the way each beat is staged feels hampered and limited.
Even knowing that “Extraction 2” is in line with its predecessor, it’s no less frustrating to see Chris Hemsworth naturally charismatic and often funny playing a character whose muscles are all very well maintained except those controlling his smile. He’s pleasantly intense and perfectly believable as a guy who can kick ass without hesitation, but his game dial is set to Grimdark and it’s not much fun to watch. It’s not just that Hemsworth is better than that, it’s that Hemsworth has proven he can do lighter actions like this… in Marvel movies whose success even allowed the Russos to make this movie with Netflix. (Elba, of note, is barely in “Extraction 2,” but he’s the only actor allowed to show personality here and ends up being the most enjoyable performer, even if it amounts to a twisted “Thor” reunion. Funny how it works!)
Of course, many Netflix Original movies are almost pre-built via an algorithm to align with what audiences are supposed to like. And seeing as the first “Extraction” was – as noted above – immensely popular based on the same algorithm, it turns out they wouldn’t mess with the sequel’s formula. So whether the film is good or not, it’s safe to say that if you liked the first one and what it had to offer, the second won’t surprise you. That doesn’t make “Extraction 2” any good, though; it just makes it predictable. It’s a fine distillation of the Netflix formula, but they’ve rarely figured out how to make these things entertaining rather than just safe.
/Movie rating: 3.5 out of 10