Michael Bay is known for fast moving films with lots of flashing lights, rendering mayhem wherever he can get it on the screen. Ryan Reynolds is also known for fast moving films with lots of flashing lights, rendering mayhem where he can get it on the screen.
Sounds like the right ingredients for an explosive time at the movies, right?
Mixed, Shaken and Stirred, “Six Underground” is “Fast and Furious” meets “Now You See Me” as the right type of movie to blend both Bay’s ambitions for big and bold with Reynold’s action-comedy timing.
The script by Reynolds’ writing duo of Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (both “Deadpool” films and “Life”) come in with all the guns blazing in the world, and that’s not a bad thing. The film opens in Italy with a team of six ghost operatives who are out to stop a master criminal. This leads into a car chase, which One (Reynolds) explains how they each “died” and were brought together as a team. These opening scenes paid homage to the 1969 classic, “The Italian Job” while the organization of the team and their functions play into Bay’s own “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”
The action is fast, the cars are faster and the cast is even faster.
Mélanie Laurent is “Two” and she sizzles in this film seducing contacts. Manuel Garcia-Rulfo plays “Three,” who is always rambling on as being the outsider in the group, but is often the most insightful in his musings. He is definitely the weapons man.
Ben Hardy is “Four,” a man of action. He’s got an action scene in Hong Kong that riffs off the opening building chase in “Casino Royale” using Parkour. Four is always in the right place at the right time as a “Jimmy-on-the-spot.” Adria Arjona is “Five” (“Triple Frontier,” “The Belko Experiment”), who in the opening frames takes a bullet in the wrong spot, forcing emergency surgery with a lot of energy. Once she recovers, she
Dave Franco plays “Six,” a wheel man with expert skills who gets the team out of tight spots. Corey Hawkins plays “Seven.” Now, you might be asking why the film is called “Six Underground” when there are seven characters. The film explains it in a solid way that retains the mystery of the group that “One” has formed.
“What if I told you, I know what happens when you die?” muses One. See, One is a billionaire, having made his money off of patents that are sitting in devices we use every day. He discovered that his own ambitions were more suited for helping the world get rid of dangerous people and he faked his own death to lead a vigilante squad. Their focus is on taking down the criminals that governements around the world either can’t or won’t.
Rovach Alimov (Lior Raz) is a dictator of the worst sort, starving his people, killing them on the spot and with tight control over the military. His brother, Murat (Payman Maadi, “13 Hours”) is in exile because of his opposition to his brother’s controls.
Bay directs the second of three signature stunt pieces with great aplomb. But there is a level of control here too that we haven’t seen in a number of years; his direction is not as aggressive as it has been on the “Transformer” films. Part of that is owned by Reynolds’s understanding of his character, something similar to Deadpool without the spandex, dammit.
Reynolds’s calm and cool demeanor really give the action parts of the story a nice symmetry as he has command of both his onscreen personae and the team that he leads. His best beats are with Corey Hawkins, the newest member of his team. But, he is naturally a good leader.
“6 Underground” is a Michael Bay film at its heart, but Ryan Reynolds really steps up, giving the action just the right balance that makes the film move like a well-oiled Bay film can.
- 6 Underground