‘6 Underground’ Movie Review: You Can Watch Ryan Reynolds’ New Movie on Netflix Right Now
6 Underground is Michael Bay by way of Neveldine and Taylor. If those names don’t mean anything to you, Ryan Reynolds is in it. You’ve heard of him. Bay’s most mainstream films have been the Transformers films and Armageddon. His most serious films have been 13 Hours and Pain and Gain but his best is The Rock. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor made Crank and its sequel Crank: High Voltage.
Bay may be the most bombastic director working in Hollywood, but he had all the money in the world to do it. Neveldine and Taylor did it with fewer resources, and less oversight reigning them in. Take Bay’s style and resources and combine it with the irreverence for cinematic form and good taste and that begins to put into words what 6 Underground is streaming on Netflix.
Ryan Reynolds isn’t even the biggest mouth in ‘6 Underground’
One (Ryan Reynolds) leads a team of six agents. They’ve all faked their deaths to become ghosts, off the grid. Two (Melanie Laurent) and Three (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) are assassins. Four (Ben Hardy) is the parkour guy. Five (Adria Arjona) is the medic and Six (Dave Franco) is the driver. Spoiler alert, not all six make it through the first mission so they recruit Seven (Corey Hawkins), an Afghanistan war veteran who becomes their sniper.
That also means you have six characters yelling and talking over each other throughout the movie, but that pretty much fits the Transformers aesthetic. This time they can use the F word because it’s rated R on Netflix.
The assignment involves deposing some Turgistan dictator. Anyone who can glean more detail than that deserves a medal but the plot is besides the point. The point is to see these six on a mission. It’s ridiculous but fully invested in how ridiculous it is. They make jokes but sincerely believe in themselves and their teamwork.
Graphic action on Netflix
Michael Bay is known for his excess but only one of his films was gratuitous. That was Bad Boys II, which was so excessively violent it was probably the bloodiest movie ever released since Starship Troopers. Netflix allows Bay to go full Bad Boys II again. 6 Underground is rated R but they probably wouldn’t have been as lenient were the film going into thousands of theaters. Still, it’s not the most graphic film on Netflix. That would be The Night Comes For Us.
6 Underground opens with a bombastic car chase through the streets of Florence, Italy during which nuns give the six the finger and they dodge babies and dogs. Bay films it in seizure vision, editing shots together more like the aggressive Crank movies than the polished franchise movies. You can follow it. It’s not a Paul Greengrass Jason Bourne style hodgepodge, but Bay makes the viewer work for it.
That car chase is epic and may set expectations too high. Most of the middle bears more sporadic action, but the finale has clever sort of Rube Goldberg teamwork where lots of big set pieces connect together. There’s a bold gag with steel girders and a magnet theme throughout the film pays off in the finale set piece.
The Bay gaze hasn’t changed
Michael Bay has had a consistent aesthetic throughout his films. 6 Underground reflects the same sweaty, saturated look. Not only because many of the missions take place in the desert. People manage to sweat anywhere, and the women’s makeup never seems to run.
Two guns down bad guys while shrugging off her gunshot wound to the stomach. It’s an image that’s so Michael Bay it must be celebrated. He still shoots women like a Victoria’s Secret commercial.
At this point you’ve just got to laugh how every woman, no matter what her situation, ends up looking the same in this film, and in various states of undress (but no nudity in this R-rated film). Ryan Reynolds has love scenes too but it’s glaring how little attention is paid the potential man candy compared to female extras given the same glamour lighting as the stars.
6 Underground is a Michael Bay movie. While it’s a tad more excessive than usual, it’s excessive in more creative and irreverent ways than Bad Boys II. If they make a 7 Underground, it will be quite a challenge to get even crazier.