A tech billionaire (Ryan Reynolds) a CIA Spook (Mélanie Laurent), a hitman (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a doctor (Adria Arjona), a parkour thief (Ben Hardy), a driver (Dave Franco) and a sniper (Corey Hawkins) fake their deaths to begin a noble cause of going after the world’s most heinous criminals. The first one on their proverbial justice hit list is Rovach Alimov (Lior Raz), a violent war general dictator in the remote country of Turgistan. There might be a way to overthrow with the help of the dictator’s own brother. But first, and probably quite vital, they should really learn to work together. That would help when all hell breaks loose.
It’s best to cut to the chase and make this nice and simple. Your enjoyment of 6 Underground is going to come down to one key question – do you like Michael Bay films?
If you’ve been put off or never felt drawn to Michael Bay’s way of storytelling, whether it be through the Transformers series or his action back catalogue (The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbour, Bad Boys to name a few) this definitely is not the movie for you. Expect the usual typical Michael Bay moments like infantile humour, lingering shots of female characters in lingerie, extreme gory gross-out humour and a lot of explosions. It’s all there and it’s unapologetic.
If you do then you’ll feel right at home. 6 Underground is the director at his Bayhem best since getting bogged down and outstaying his welcome into the world of Transformers. If you’re not a fan of his, then this film is going to do very little to change your mind. Living up to his ridiculous action set-piece nature, the film kicks off with a lengthy 20-minute car chase around the roads of Florence, Italy, with an extremely large amount of property, vehicular, bodily and artistic damage – all in that sun-kissed golden teal aesthetic. Throw in a quick back and forth nature to try and understand how we got to this car crashing mess and this is what makes Michael Bay still one of the most individual action directors out there. He can give you one hell of an action sequence when it comes to it.
Considering I’m not particularly a fan of some of Bay’s traits, I am an absolute sucker for a good action film that builds up its action throughout. This is when the next sequence amps things up a little bit, pushing the set-piece to deliver something even bigger than the last. With that, 6 Underground works for me. Plus, I did find myself enjoying some of the ragtag group a bit more as events progressed. The weird platonic violent duo of Laurent and Garcia-Rulfo being one particular highlight. Add your usual helping of Ryan Reynolds charm and humour as your enigmatic leader, One, and partnered with a workable but not perfect script from Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Deadpool and Zombieland) and you have the workings of a pretty decent Saturday night movie to watch at home with a takeaway.
Like I’ve stated, it’s not perfect and there are a few things that don’t necessarily benefit 6 Underground. It would have been nice to get a bit more backstory on some of the team members, it feels we barely scratch the surface and I think there’s a pretty good reason for that which I’ll elaborate on in a moment. Other characters aren’t memorable when they should be – especially our main villain here who, despite best efforts from Lior Raz, is a cardboard cutout evil warlord with zero original traits. The potential glaring weakness in 6 Underground’s mess of action and hijinks is that there rarely feels like a moment where our heroes are truly out of their depth. It never really feels like they’re in danger at times – even if they are, everything just seems to work out in their favour…even when it doesn’t. The one big moment of when this actually does ring home is straight after the car chase and once they’ve learnt from that mistake – everything seems to just click. For a silly action blockbuster like 6 Underground, I shouldn’t be thinking too much on this but it’s noticeable.
One final bit of nitpicking is that 6 Underground has littered itself with sequel baits. This is a light spoiler but the filmmakers and Netflix certainly seem to have lofty ambitions for the film when their proverbial hit list of criminals has 9 names and we’ve spent the last two hours taking down just one! It clearly wants us to want more. Do I want more from the 6 Underground “universe”? I’m in two minds about it. I enjoyed my time with the film so I wouldn’t mind a sequel, especially now we’ve got the setup out of the way. This means we can get straight to business immediately. But there has to be something more substantial behind these characters and we can’t have another cardboard war dictator. Bring something interesting to the table for their next target and maybe 6 Underground could be a potential launching pad of action adventures for Netflix.
For now, it’s the Netflix Bayhem Experience, you’ll go along with it or you’ll skip it for now.
6 Underground is available to stream on Netflix now