Armageddon and Pain & Gain are the two foundations on which I built my apologist house in Michael Bay. Armageddon is really ridiculous because NASA recruits every Bruce Willis to fly into space and prevent an asteroid from colliding with Earth. And Pain & Gain, in which bodybuilders like Rock, Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Mackie kidnap Tony Shalhoub to blackmail him, is not just a perfect satire with American excess, it suggests that Bay is aware of his reputation for excessive action. They are exceptions to the usual rules for Bay movies, which can be an endless amount of “explosions and light for everything else” transformer action. However, they are clear enough to indicate that given the license and freedom to escape the studio system, Bay would be able to produce more.
So it’s a disappointment to discover that Bay’s new Netflix film, 6 Underground, is absolutely bleak.
The film appears to be based on the harsh premise of “What if superheroes but in real life?”, In which Ryan Reynolds appears as an eccentric billionaire who calls himself “One” title), to become a judicial squad that criminals and dictators all over the world. They are said to have all specific skills – for example, “Six” (Dave Franco) is introduced as “The Driver” – but the rules are relaxed at best. When Six is replaced, his deputy “Seven” (Corey Hawkins) is not hired as an escape driver, but only because he is a good soldier.
Bay is there again. Photo: Christian Black / Netflix
The rest of the roles also seem fairly simple. These protagonists might as well be “Lady Doctor” or “Parkour Guy”. This one-dimensionality makes 6 Underground feel like an endlessly repeated title screen in an arcade game. Every playable character has a certain talent that he’s supposed to be good at, and they move in rapid, repetitive actions until someone presses the start button on the controller. Except in this case, the characters never develop beyond that first impression, and neither does the film.
The mission, which is carried out without player / god intervention, is a coup in the fictional nation of Turgistan. The team plans to depose the current dictator (Lior Raz) and replace it with his more peaceful brother (Payman Maadi). To accomplish this, One and its cohorts shoot their way across the country, occasionally taking breaks to go to bed with the locals and meet the required T&A quota.
Along the way, of course, they realize that their status as “ghosts” – considered dead by their friends and loved ones, forced to deny personal ties to others or to each other – may not be all that matters, despite his monologue on how “Free” it is to be “dead”, Seven finds it difficult to comply with the rule of leaving a team member with difficulties behind, and he cites his previous experience as a soldier as a reason he cannot do justice to leaving members of the squad ,
The six, above ground. Photo: Netflix
The action is fairly simple and theoretically not bad. But it is so overloaded with incoherent action scenes and dreadful dialogues (in one scene a character speaks only in famous film quotes) that all functions that could have made 6 Underground a fun game are completely lost. This is Bay’s worst case, a blast game of “yes” and it is tiring to see. The action is so continuous that it’s superficial rather than entertaining and sometimes even mandatory, i.e. H. “Shoot, we have to find something for Parkour Guy that we can do. Jump over some construction beams, I assume? “There’s also no attempt to hide the film’s sponsors, from the huge Red Bull sticker Reynolds sitting on a helmet at the start of the film to prominent shots of Chopard watches and similar items.
The film briefly plays with the idea that a billionaire with no accountability and full access to resources and weapons – basically a real Tony Stark – is a terrible thing, 6 Underground is too full of explosives to accommodate more complex characters is a boring dichotomy, not to mention the area Reynolds has entered many times (Deadpool, Deadpool 2, Detective Pikachu, The Hitman’s Wife, the aspiring Free Guy). The list continues).
What kills me most, however, is that with all the cacophony, there is a joke that suggests the kind of joyful chaos that Bay is capable of. During a fight, the guards make a sound that is said to disrupt the armed men who are after them. It’s called a “song,” but when the sound gets louder, its true form becomes clear: it’s the deafening digital Dolby Surround sound that is stretched out so far that it can’t be recognized until the whole Glass shatters the building. It’s a fun gesture, but just a hint of something new in a movie that otherwise feels like it has slipped into the ground and is ready to exhaust any viewer who makes the mistake of jumping in.
6 Underground is now streaming on Netflix.