‘6 Underground’ // Film Review: Michael Bay at His Michael Bay-iest

There’s no shame of saying that Michael Bay is my least favorite director of all-time. Yes, it’s true. That’s because every time he handles an action movie of any kind, he always makes it so inconsistent that most people who watched them give up early. Anything that’s not called The Rock, Bad Boys, or 13 Hours shows that he hasn’t changed his ways into what people want. At least with his latest Netflix movie, 6 Underground, the best part about it is that you’re not paying theater prices. Chalk that up as a massive plus.

What’s the Story: After faking their own deaths, six individuals (Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Corey Hawkins, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ben Hardy, and Adria Arjona) with different kinds of skills form a vigilante squad and be known as “ghosts”, in order to take down notorious criminals and changing the world.

Was I excited about watching this? No, but there was a chance for this to reach that guilty pleasure status that’s stupidly fun from watching the trailers. The concept itself sounded kind of cool when first hearing about it, but this kind of movie should level with low expectations. With a price tag of $150 million attached to it, was it a surprise that to learn that 6 Underground turned out to be nothing more but a loud and moronic vigilante action-thriller? Because that’s what this is in a heartbeat.

First, let’s go right into Bay’s direction and how it becomes prevalent that it’s never good. Those who are familiar with the kinds of techniques he’s been well-known for will spot them easily throughout. There are your occasional heavy explosions with white fireworks (including from the machine guns?), sunsets, women shot from a low angle, car chases with bad dialogue, and other aspects that one would expect when viewing anything from his filmography. Watching 6 Underground felt like this was like a self-parody of what he’s been doing when he first started out, as he’s purposely aware that he made this for those without brain cells. Just blend Fast & Furious, Bad Boys II, and an ounce of Takers, and this is what it ends up as.

Talking about the repetitive action would be a waste of time because nothing about how Bay directs it is memorable. This kicks off with a pretty long car chase through Florence, Italy in the first five minutes. To no one’s surprise, there wasn’t anything enjoyable about it when those problems that come with his “unique” style of action are in play to a head aching degree. It was at that moment I knew I would not enjoy my time watching this. Expect to see a lot of sequences badly edited or in unnecessary slow motion in R-rated glory where it doesn’t even count as fun from my perspective. Seriously, though, it shouldn’t be hard to shoot an action scene when so many cuts are involved. Just have a sequence without multiple edits and in wider shots. Simple.

The performances aren’t anything spectacular and all of them did their best but have been better in other things than this. Reynolds, who plays the eccentric billionaire inventor leader of the team “One” and pulls together this team, is perhaps being almost like himself, which some might not like. He was good enough to keep watching the rest. Garcia-Rulfo’s “Three” started to grave on my nerves when he becomes annoying during the second act. One of the biggest problems is that there wasn’t any moment that made me care about the characters. What I mean by that is that character development is profoundly weak to the point of not caring if any one of them gets killed. Not even the main dictator (Lior Raz) that the team is attempting to find is very forgettable. Dave Franco shows up briefly, and it’s the right word to call his performance because if you’ve seen him in the trailers, that’s all you’ll see of him in this movie.

Normally, writing duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have written some cool movies in the past, including working with Reynolds on the Deadpool movies and had a helping hand in writing the Zombieland movies too. Them being attached to this project had some promise. But when it’s under the direction of Bay, all creativity is thrown out the window when the story becomes a mess after the first 30 minutes. There’s no reason to care about the plot, but at least be engaging. The first half consists of flashbacks that made it confusing when the story takes place now or in the past to catch us up. Not only that, but it has that eye-rolling humor that gets never becomes funny, especially when a moment dedicates itself to a stupid 8 Mile joke. Even throwing in quotes from other film isn’t helping anybody.

6 Underground (2019)

But I have to talk about the music in here because, for some reason, I always hate it when bad movies have good music. With the case in this, there were two songs from Muse that got placed. The first track came up, that made it seem like the movie would have a solid start. Then a few songs from The Score popped up, and three of their songs played during the opening car chase. There is one song that I really love that I can’t believe this was the movie to put it in.

Here’s the thing: If you’re a Michael Bay fan, then you’ll have no problems with 6 Underground. If you are not, just skip it entirely. This is what you would expect from a movie from Bay, and it’s pretty trash. Can it be easy to say this is a movie to turn your brain off? Sure, but for the sake of Bay behind it all, it’s painfully dumb with no substance. No real characters to root for, the action is poorly directed, and it fails at trying to be funny. For the record, it’s the kind of movie that’s fitted for the streaming service. Entertaining, it is not.

Grade: D+

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