6 UNDERGROUND

I’m not biased when it comes to movie genres. All genres are different and have different goals, and it’s all about how the filmmakers achieve that. For example, I love a quality action films. Well, what makes for a great action film? Great action. Great action that makes sense, has meaning, and has creativity. The John Wick films and Mad Max: Fury Road, some of my favorite films of all time, are perfect examples of that. They’re exciting not just because of the action, but because the stories and characters are engrossing and offer a decent amount of depth. All of the other classic action films share they same attributes: they’re just great movies. Do you know who doesn’t understand that? Michael Bay. 
 
6 Underground follows a man who we only know as One (Ryan Reynolds), a billionaire who faked his death in order to form an elite squad of 6 people to take down terrorists. He tries to keep things simple and at an emotional distance by giving them all numbered code names, which creates friction between the team. Still, they have a mission to complete, this time being to overthrow a dictator (Lior Raz) and install his democracy loving brother (Peyman Maadi) as the new head of state. Man, we Americans are really good at destroying the Middle East. 
 
6 Underground begins with a car chase in the streets of Florence, Italy, with absolutely no context as to what’s going on. Now, a lot of action films do this and then flashback to show up what led to this moment, a term called “in media res”. However, those typically only last for a few minutes before flashing back. Here, we open with a 15-minute car chase, which is probably the worst action scene I’ve seen all year. Dave Franco drives around as Reynolds makes sarcastic quips, and Five (Adria Arjona) digs a bullet out of Two’s (Mélanie Laurent) leg, but it’s horrendously shot and edited. At first, you think only three of them are in the car, but then you suddenly see Five in the back seat, her character never being established in the scene. There are continuity errors all over the place, with car mirrors being knocked and off and reappearing, and blood spraying on people’s faces, which disappear into the next shot. This cost $150 million and it’s pathetic that things this blatant are present. The rest of the action sequences don’t fare much better, with your typical Michael Bay car chases and shootouts, all frenetically shot and edited, just to make sure you don’t know what’s going on. You of course get your classic Bay explosions, featuring exploding fruit stands and sidewalks. Hey, at least it was funny, because all of the actual attempts at humor fell flat. It’s your typical juvenile, dated, cringeworthy Bay humor, which made me groan, rather than laugh. An 8 Mile reference? Are you serious? 
 
After the unexpected death of one character during the chase, they have an impromptu funeral on a boat where they wrap him in plastic and dump him in the ocean. “We hardly knew ye,” they practically lament, and you’re still asking, “Who are these people? What’s going on? Why should I care?” It feels like the opening to an action movie sequel. You’re dropped into the middle of some mission with a bunch of characters bickering and running away from bad guys, like we’re supposed to know who these people are. The fact that they’re all just numbered and not actually named makes it even worse. A nameless character method like this can work, as seen in films like Reservoir Dogs, but nobody here aside from Ryan Reynolds has any sort of discernible or unique personality. It all just boils down to whatever skill they have, like hitman, billionaire, and so on. This is an action movie about a team, and some of them are given absolutely nothing to do, primarily focusing on Reynolds and Laurent. Maybe because they’re the two best actors of the bunch, but there’s still not much to their characters. I feel bad for Laurent, who got big with Tarantino in Inglourious Basterds and is now relegated to garbage like this, and I’m especially sick of Ryan Reynold’s whole sarcastic asshole schtick. Yeah, he’s good at it, but he’s capable of such more than just Deadpool-esque characters. Just watch Buried
 
The rest of the plot is absolutely incoherent, with vague terrorist plots, characters with confusing and questionable motivations, and a complete lack of logic. This team has absolutely no affiliation with the US government, or anything like that. They kind of just act as judge, jury, and executioner. They don’t just kill bad guys, either, as dozens of hapless pedestrians as they drive their cars through sidewalks and get in shootouts in the middle of the street. These people are going after terrorists, but in another context, this team would be considered terrorists. I mean, they basically are, as they’re constantly destroying cities and toppling entire governments. It gets to the point where I felt like I was watching a live action version of Team America: World Police. None of the action actually means anything in terms of developing characters or story, just excuses for more explosions. There is one effective action scene of a Middle Eastern town being bombed, which does give off the proper sense of confusion, chaos, and fear. The rest of them are ruined not just by their incoherence, but because of the atrocious music choices. There’s a lot of pop music and heavy EDM to make what’s going on seem “cool”, but it just feels like an out of touch old man throwing what he thinks the kids like to heighten a totally lame action scene. 
 
6 Underground has an absolutely ridiculous premise, but it’s also a great premise for a silly action movie. Action has to mean something, though, and also need to make sense. There’s none of that here. Even if you’re a fan of Michael Bay, I don’t see much to enjoy here. The characters are non-existent, the cast has nothing to do, the action is horrendously shot and edited, it makes no damn sense, and worst of all, it’s irritating. People who like Bay’s films like to say, “They’re just mindless action movies! Turn your brain off!” Well, when my brain constantly notices more and more things, it can’t help but turn back on realize how awful what I’m watching is. 
 
2/10 

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