Pros: Gorgeous staging of action scenes; a fifteen-minute chase at the beginning of the film; dynamic editing; good soundtrack; good jokes; good acting ensemble Cons: The plot leaves much to be desired; failed scene in Kyiv 6 Underground / “Phantom Six”
Directed by Michael Bay
Starring: Ryan Reynolds (First), Mélanie Laurent (Second), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Third), Ben Hardy (Fourth), Adria Arjona (Fifth), Dave Franco (Sixth), Corey Hawkins (Seventh), Lior Raz (Rovach) Alimov), Peyman Maadi (Murat Alimov), etc.
Skydance Media Studio, Netflix
Year of release 2019
While the streaming services Apple TV+ and Disney+ suffer from a lack of original content, Netflix, in anticipation of upcoming competition, is trying to retain viewers with high-budget films with big names in the credits. Moreover, the pre-Christmas period, when many people think about whether to renew their subscription for next year, is especially rich in such premieres. Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci; Marriage Story with Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver and Laura Dern; and now Michael Bay’s 6 Underground with Ryan Reynolds. A massive attack on viewers with different tastes.
After Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds began to be perceived as an actor whose films brought in good money. And believe me, the ratio of the cost of an actor to the film’s grosses is precisely the parameter that producers pay attention to in the first place. It is not surprising that since 2016, the actor has not had time to process offers from leading studios. It’s unknown how much of the $150 million Netflix committed to 6 Underground came from Reynolds’ fee, but it’s clear it was a lot. Especially considering the fact that Bay has set his sights on creating a new action franchise, which means the contract, as in the case of Adam Sandler, involves working on several films. But that’s still in the future, let’s see what Michael Bay did this time, because the director’s last films that you could watch without the danger of breaking your face came out in 2005 and 2007. — we are, of course, talking about The Island and the very first Transformers.
So, 6 Underground tells the story of an inventor and billionaire who fakes his own death in order to assemble a team of declared dead avengers with nothing left to lose. The goal of the man hiding behind the pseudonym First is to overthrow Rovach Alimov, the dictator of Turgistan, who used chemical weapons against his own population. For the First, this is personal, however, for some members of his group too. The fictional Turgistan is similar to both Syria and Azerbaijan, and in general the plot of the film is clearly copied from one of the Bond films of the early 80s. last century.
Yes, the plot is not 6 Underground’s strong point. It is banal, predictable and is needed only to connect the action scenes. But when in action films was the plot the main component of the dish? No, this certainly happens, remember The Departed, but extremely rarely. 6 Underground, the plot of which was written by the writers of Deadpool, Life, Deadpool 2 and Zombieland: Double Tap Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, is full of cliches, illogical decisions and teleporting main characters, but it also has some pretty good jokes plus a lot of references to classic Hollywood films and TV series. Why, at times the characters simply speak in quotes from classic films.
And with the action scenes everything is fine here. The opening fifteen-minute chase through Florence would be the envy of any James Bond film. Thanks to excellent editing, a combination of stunts, visual effects and stunning Italian architecture, again, good jokes, including those ridiculing the cliches inherent in action films, the scene is literally a breeze. Perhaps this is the best movie chase filmed recently.
And then the degree of madness only increases. The scene in Hong Kong is pleasing with its extraordinary use of water and metal structures, and the final battle on the yacht is truly very original, in the spirit of superhero films, with the use of large magnets. Small inserts representing team members turned out worse. The scene in Kyiv was especially upsetting with the huge Gazprom sign in the background, which looked simply ridiculous. Plus, this scene was filmed in Los Angeles, which clearly shows.
Overall, 6 Underground is a great action movie with good jokes and a great ensemble cast. There are really inventive, although sometimes too bloody, shootouts, beautiful car stunts and dynamic editing. The film looks like a breeze and personally, I don’t mind at all if Michael Bay turns it into a whole franchise. You can always find dictators who deserve a revolution, we can easily suggest a couple.
However, the fate of the future franchise depends on how many viewers watch 6 Underground in the first few days after its release. So far, the Netflix record belongs to the wacky comedy Murder Mystery with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston – almost 31 million viewers. At the same time, its cost, which Netflix for some reason hides, is definitely several times lower than that of the Michael Bay film.
6 Underground Exonerates Michael Bay for What He Did with Transformers