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Chris Hemsworth hammers home another rescue mission in ‘Extraction 2’

<i>Netflix</i><br/>Chris Hemsworth and Tinatin Dalakishvili in the Netflix action movie
Chris Hemsworth and Tinatin Dalakishvili in the Netflix action movie "Extraction 2."

Review by Brian Lowry, CNN

(CNN) — Premiering in April 2020, “Extraction” landed at a fortuitous time, showcasing “Thor’s” Chris Hemsworth in a muscular, theatrical-style action vehicle on Netflix at a moment when Covid brought theaters to a grinding halt. The sequel, “Extraction 2,” hammers away at the same basic outline, while feeling particularly simple minded even by the standards of the genre.

Indeed, this outing for Hemsworth’s haunted mercenary, Tyler Rake, basically seems designed for people who find the “Taken” movies too intellectually taxing, down to the stock Eastern European bad guys who, thanks to all that body armor, generally need to be shot in the head in order to stop them.

The first film was mostly defined by a 12-minute continuous fight sequence, the work of then-first-time director Sam Hargrave, a stuntman and second-unit director who had doubled Chris Evans on the Avengers movies.

Back in the saddle, Hargrave ups the ante with a frenzied 21-minute continuous fight that looks like a “oner,” as it’s called (there are cuts, deftly obscured), consisting of trains, helicopters and automobiles. The effect is certainly impressive for those who study such things – cue Film Twitter – while leaving the movie suffering from a bit of a hangover thereafter.

What are they fighting about? Well, Rake undertakes a rescue mission to bring his ex-sister-in-law (Tinatin Dalakishvili) and her two kids out of the Georgian prison where they are being held with her mobster husband. The operation again teams Rake with the equally deadly Nik (Golshifteh Farahani), while triggering a desire for revenge from the husband’s ruthless brother (Tornike Gogrichiani), who fortunately has access to all kind of heavy weaponry and doesn’t mind mixing it up with anyone, including local authorities who happen to get in his way.

That’s pretty much it, based on the script by Joe Russo, one of the prolific directing brothers behind “Avengers: Endgame” who also produced the project. Adding to the Marvel credentials, there’s a cameo by Hemsworth’s “Thor” co-star Idris Elba, though here more in the role of puppet master than butt-kicker.

Streaming movies have welcomed the Marvel stable with open arms, and “Extraction” charitably offers Hemsworth a franchise in which he can function as a producer in addition to starring, much as Evans did in the recent Apple action-comedy “Ghosted.”

The tradeoff is that those services appear so happy just to have the promotional value associated with these stars that the actual content of the movies is essentially secondary, at least based on the bare-bones plotting associated with “Extraction 2.”

These movies do demonstrate a willingness by streamers in general, and Netflix in particular, to ante up for projects with the ostensible trappings of a theatrical blockbuster. Add to that equation the cost of a subscription but not needing to extract yourself from the couch, which, alas, is still probably more of an investment than “Extraction 2” is worth.

“Extraction 2” premieres June 16 on Netflix. It’s rated R.

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