The Bay City Maulers: A Review Of Netflix’s '6 Underground'
If excessive violence, destroying cities, ludicrous storylines and untimely, smart-aleck lines are what you like, ‘6 Underground’ is Michael Bay’s gift to you
For every one quality project that Netflix will green light and bankroll; there’ll always be the ten that cater to the mainstream or are calibrated to maximize viewership over prestige branding. Whether we like it or not, that is the name of the game, and it has turned Netflix into the successful media content giant it is now.
So after The Irishman and Marriage Story (and the forthcoming Two Popes), it’s inevitable that Netflix would also roll out the red carpet for Michael Bay’s 6 Underground. Starring Ryan Reynolds, it’s a visual feast for action/adventure fans. For my money, it may even be Bay’s calling card to invite him to direct the next Mission Impossible installment.
It’s Michael Bay showing off his fast-paced editing, frenetic visual-styling, and his penchant for wrecking urban areas, destroying sets in fiery explosions, and giving us one-liners and scenes that reek of misogyny, sexism, racist undertones, and meanness, or a combination of all of the above.
Having directed Transformers, Bad Boys, Pearl Harbor, and Armageddon (among other films); you know Bay knows his audience. He also directed Pain & Gain, which was his sole black comedy that relied more on character development. So obviously, if you’re looking for a popcorn movie, a film that doesn’t really ask you to follow the story or empathize with any of the characters, you’ve struck gold with 6 Underground.
As it title suggests, the film is about a shadowy group who have erased their past lives, and resurrect themselves as do-gooders, taking on missions that no above-ground organization could embark on. Led by, what else, a conscience-stricken billionaire played by Ryan Reynolds, the cast includes Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Melanie Laurent, Ben Hardy, Adria Arjona, Corey Hawkins, and Dave Franco. Called just by their numbers, no prize for noticing there are seven names listed above.
From the opening sequence set in Florence to the fictitious Turgistan, and other locations; it’s clear that Bay was given a ton of moolah to come up with this paean to excess. Violence, car chases, body parts, explosions, weaponry, death-defying stunts, smart-aleck one-liners, it’s like Bay has an unlimited inventory of all these things. It’s carnage, mayhem, and goofiness all rolled into one film.
Mind you, like I said at the outset, Netflix is one smart cookie, and Bay knows what he’s doing. 6 Underground will find its audience and more people fueled by testosterone will view this than say, The Two Popes. It works for its intended audience. I just wished it didn’t feel so cliched. A film like Baby Driver knew how to blend exciting action, with characters that weren’t merely cardboard cutouts.
6 Underground is currently available to stream on Netflix.