6 Underground movie cast: Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona, Corey Hawkins, Ben Hardy and Dave Franco
6 Underground movie director: Michael Bay
6 Underground movie ratings: 2 stars
Wonder why Michael Bay chose to present 6 Underground on a streaming platform, because the plane crashes, car pileups and lengthy car chases would lend themselves perfectly to a theatrical cinematic experience, and not one where you are squinting onto your phone and trying to take in the scale and magnitude of it. The film packs a lengthy car chase sequence in the brick-lined streets of Italy, complete with al-fresco diners being eviscerated, and some ancient sculpture being demolished – Michelangelo’s David was saved by a hair– there is a plane crash in the Grand Canyon of Colorado, and a minor surgery is conducted at the back of a lime green Alfa Romeo, all in the first ten minutes of the film.
What we have on our hands is a motley group of six people, who are dead to everyone living, and have taken on themselves to ‘make the world a better place’. Ryan Reynolds, a former tech billionaire-turned-vigilante heads this group, and the current task at hand is to remove a despot from the nation of Turgistan and replace him with his democracy-loving brother. For the millionth time, we see an American, if not America restoring democracy in a war-torn area, and for the millionth time, we see a gifted band of people become ‘family’ in the due course of the film.
The film ticks all the boxes – the not-so-delicate banter between the team, pop-culture references, pop music – we even hear Spice Girls crooning ‘If you wanna be my lover’ as a cavalcade of SUVs trail Reynolds and team – and some soppy backstories of the group as they empty entire magazines of guns in their pursuit to ‘do the right thing’.
Reynolds, a bit greyer, is in Deadpool mode, though he tries harder to be acerbic and aloof. The rest of the team are standard tokens – the skywalker/parkour guy, the doctor, the spy, and the sniper and a driver. The diversity box is checked too, this being an almost international outreach programme.
The problem with 6 Underground is not the story, but the repetition in the narrative. The over two-hour film would have worked better had it been shortened at least by half an hour. Near death situations work well to keep us on the edge of our seats, but they stop being effective if you use the ploy one too many times. The action sequences are well executed, and the one which involves a crane and the top floor of a skyscraper is akin to a heist, but the violence and body count distract from the main action.
The upbeat soundtrack, helps in the melodramatic intake of the story, and is often used to fill gaping holes in the narrative. Michael Bay is known for a humane take in most of his work, but this one tries too hard. In the desire to be a fast-paced, action-packed film, with an overriding emotional quotient, 6 Underground ends being a loud and shallow attempt. But we have a feeling that this will be the next big money-spinning franchise from the Netflix stable. Don’t be surprised if you hear 6 Underground: 2.0 being announced soon enough.