Michael Bay is an underrated director. That does not mean he is an underrated story teller. He’s not (he barely passed creative writing with a D-). But he is a great visual stylist, knows how to get across scale not many could do until CGI got to the place it’s at now, and when he has a message he pushes it even when everything else fails.
With all that said 6 Underground is a fever dream of everything Michael Bay loves rolled into a slick package.
The movie follows Ryan Reynolds as a CEO who has a brush with death when terrorists attack a refugee camp. From then on he decides to use his billions to deliver justice to the actual villains in power, and use his own team of specialized agents to do it.
This movie is an over edited, oddly structured, beautiful looking fever dream. It is hard to know what is going on from scene to scene. It is unclear if we are in the present, past, or somewhere else in the past. Whatever the style they were going for it does not work as intended, but also way better than the similarly structured Suicide Squad. We get background on some of the squad, but not all of them. Each member gets a nice flashy intro on the screen, and their ability. It should be cool, but it is too inconsistent to work overall.
So if the editing and structure are inconsistent then maybe the characters are the heart of this movie. Ensemble casts are the big thing. Again the word is uneven. Ryan Reynolds is of course a blast, along with a couple of the team members, but not everyone gets enough to do. Some skills like parkour are really showed off, while the doctor is just a name. She is forgettable. The characters may not be all super memorable, but they all have a good chemistry and believable bond.
A good chemistry is nice and all, but it’s an action movie and the action is neat. There are some really inventive set pieces like large scale use of magnets, or a Hong Kong chase on the rooftops. It is a solid setup if anything. The stop and start editing does those scenes no favors.
This movie also has a lot of classic Michael Bay humor. Humor in this case having everyone in the world be hateful. Nuns who flick you off when you try to run them over by accident (I mean it was a Franco driving the car it makes sense). Ryan Reynolds hating on the Spice Girls (what’s wrong with the Spice Girls? They’re a national treasure… to Britain). It is funny, but also very juvenile. A character gets high on laughing gas and quotes movie lines, hysterical. It also oddly goes away after the first big chase scene. There is of course humorous banter and interplay, but no outright jokes. I guess that means it breaks even.
I wanted to like this movie. It does have real care and soul put into it. It’s a movie about taking down dictators and making the world a better place. Michale Bay is working through some ideas here, they just don’t all work.
You might have a good time, or it’s off putting style and strange structure will turn you off.