Michael Bay’s name will forever be remembered as the king of explosions and the killer of storytelling. His films are measured by the amount of blown up objects that they feature rather than the emotional weight or a good narrative that they clearly don’t possess.
6 Underground is the brainchild of Michael Bay’s years of experience in making mindless cinema. That’s not to say that the film is completely bad though, this is a movie which can be fun for a casual audience where they can just sit back, relax and throw logic straight out of the window. 6 Underground was filmed in the most beautiful parts of the world; from the streets of Los Angeles, historic colors in Florence and pure European beauty in Budapest. Consisting of some of the most over the top Michael Bay elements of suspense, but if we’re being honest, no amount of over the top action can save this film from its lack of substance.
6 Underground is the story of “One”, an American billionaire and philanthropist ‘man’ who witnesses the brutality of a horrifying regime in a made up country known as Turgistan. After for some reason he fakes his own death to create a six-man vigilante squad but for terrorists and criminals that are beyond the reaches of the governments. “One”, along with his five other compatriots devises a plan to take down the Turgistan regime. In order to do that, they must go around the world and do cool action movie things while blowing up cars and making jokes that even for Michael Bay, are in poor taste.
“Two” is a deadly CIA spy and is by far one of the few aspects of the film which hold it together. It is played by the brilliant Melanie Laurent. “Three” is the comic relief of the film, a wise hitman played by Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. “Four” is apparently a kid that knows parkour so why wouldn’t you get him on the suicide squad in a Michael Bay movie. “Five” is a doctor and a sniper who battles with PTSD but that aspect of his character is hardly explored and finally “Six” who was so out of place throughout the entirety of the movie that I genuinely don’t remember what she specializes in.
I’ll say it right off, except for Ryan Reynolds (One) and Melanie Laurent (Two), none of these characters have any synergy. The characters feel more like filler content just to give the audience a five-minute interval during long action scenes. This isn’t to say that the actors did not do a good job, they did their best. In a script which seemingly has “boom” written after every three lines of dialogue, what could they even do.
The film’s production however is no doubt quite great, with locations such as Italy, the beautiful city of Budapest, United Arab Emirates’ crown jewel Abu Dhabi and even made up countries such as Turgistan all were prominent parts of the film, with real explosions bringing the Michael Bay flair to these locations. Budapest in particular had some of the best cinematography in the film, mainly because of how beautiful the city itself is.
Michael Bay’s attempts at creating a film focused on serious topics such as brutality in the middle-eastern side of the world was tiresome at best. The film constantly revels in illusionary B-movie action form while trying to bring in topics regarding actual human conflict and these two just do not work together. Bay’s signature action style filmmaking, with lots of explosions, car chases, massive body counts and terrible puns are prominent here, and as per his custom the narrative is not.
6 Underground is a hodge-podge of ideas packed into a Michael Bay theme park joyride which ultimately falls flat on its own face. The movie’s use of corny dialogues and slow-motion shots of women in bikinis to talk about topics that are much different, has a very exploitative design and lacks any proper representation of these conflicts. I wondered why Bay would sell his film to Netflix, but after watching the movie there are no doubts that this film deserved no theatrical release.