REVIEW: ‘6 Underground’ is Just Really Disjointed

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6 Underground

6 Underground, from renowned action director Michael Bay (Transformers) and writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, is a Netflix original movie that follows six highly-skilled individuals from around the world who have been chosen, not only for their skill but their desire to delete their pasts to change the future. Led by the ever charismatic One, the Billionaire, (Ryan Reynolds), the team hopes to be forgotten but have their actions memorialized.

6 Underground does not beat around the bush. Two minutes in and the movie is already filled with explosions as the team escapes a job gone wrong. The car chase is jarring with quick cuts between the various vehicles and the helicopter following the team. The scene also features a lot of Bay’s signature slow-motion focus on various action sequences until it cuts back to full-speed. The scene feels like a theme park ride, jostling viewers as if they are in the car as Six, the driver (Dave Franco) speeds through the tight Italian streets. All of this coupled with the witty and at times humorous dialogue from the team in the car and the excellent licensed music choices including, for a brief moment, the Spice Girls.

6 Underground

The premise of 6 Underground is fairly simple. By faking their deaths, the team has the freedom to fight the injustices of the world without the bureaucracy that often bogs down good people from doing good things. With the introduction of Seven (Corey Hawkins), we are given more insight into why members of this elite team would leave their lives and their families to follow an eccentric billionaire’s quest to rid the world of corruption. But the moments where the movie tries to be emotional fall flat.

Sever’s introduction shows us his origin where he wasn’t allowed to take a shot, wasn’t allowed to stop an injustice because of an imperfect system. That is quickly followed by him watching his own funeral with One where off-color jokes are made about his grieving family. The tonal change feels strange as the scene goes from a dark, brooding moment back to Reynolds’ signature comedic dialogue.

That tonal back and forth continues as the movie goes on and team six operatives take on their main mission. As the team attempts to overthrow the government of Turgistan. While on the ground, One attempts to scout out the area in a refugee camp but it is hit with airstrikes. The scene is jarring feels all too familiar to attacks most recently seen in refugee camps targeted by the Syrian regime.

The emotional beats, despite Reynolds acting the hell out of his scenes, never quite hit because all I can remember is the fun, over-the-top action of the opening sequence. Additionally, the film’s villain, Rovach Alimov (Lior Raz) is just evil for the sake of being evil. He has no real motivation and despite the very real callback to current real-world political events with the airstrikes on the refugee camps, Rovach Alimov feels like a caricature and not a real dictator that could exist.  The movie feels disjointed because it cannot decide if it wants to be gritty or not.

6 Underground

As the team prepares for the mission, the film’s timeline gets muddled forcing each team members’ origin story to be explored in awkward sections. While the actually background isn’t unwanted, the fact that the film takes so long to get to the meat of its plot because it keeps interrupting itself with flashbacks, that not clearly explained to be flashbacks until much later, is frustrating.

6 Underground excels when it doesn’t take itself seriously. The opening sequence is so thrilling and enjoyable because despite the, at times, gratuitous violence it remains light-hearted and humorous. Similar action scenes throughout the movie, particular one toward the middle of the film featuring Two (Mélanie Laurent), are the best part of the movie. 6 Underground wants to a smart heist movie like Oceans 11 while offering political commentary and giving the action you would expect from a Bay production.

At the end of the day, it is doing too much. The political commentary feels incredibly shallow and the plot is so barely there making it hard to follow and the heist confusing. At no point in time did I really understand what the plan required even though I understood the basics of the overall goal. I really, really wanted to like 6 Underground but I just can’t.

6 Underground is streaming now on Netflix.

6 Underground
  • 4/10
    6 Underground - 4/10
4/10

TL;DR

At the end of the day, it is doing too much. The political commentary feels incredibly shallow and the plot is so barely there making it hard to follow and the heist confusing. At no point in time did I really understand what the plan required even though I understood the basics of the overall goal. I really, really wanted to like 6 Underground but I just can’t.