6 Underground (2019)

6 Underground
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ben Hardy, Adria Arjona, Dave Franco, Corey Hawkins, Lior Raz, Payman Maadi, Yuri Kolokolnikov, Kim Kold, Lídia Franco, James Murray
Seen on: 21.7.2021

Content Note: white saviorism

A few years ago, a tech billionaire faked his own death to become One (Ryan Reynolds), the leader of a mercenary group set to kill the dictator of Turgistan Rovach (Lior Raz), to put his more liberal brother Murat (Payman Maadi) in power and free Turgistan with the move. But the first mission he and his team of five, only known as numbers Two (Mélanie Laurent), Three (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), Four (Ben Hardy), Five (Adria Arjona), and Six (Dave Franco), go on is an utter disaster – and does not bode well for their overall goal.

After watching F9 and Black Widow, I wanted to keep up the action comedy mood. When I saw the preview still on Netflix for this film, I felt like Ryan Reynolds would probably show me a good time. What I missed was that this is a Michael Bay film, and it’s absolutely one of his worse ones. Dammit, 6 Underground was really and truly bad.

The film poster showing the 7 recruits in various action poses, with One (Ryan Reynolds) taking the center.

If I had taken just a single second reading about the film instead of just pressing play, I never would have pressed play in the first place. Because obviously, the plot description is already a complete mess. The conservative wet dream of a private, rich guy, unbound by any laws, bringing freedom to the middle east alone is a racist clusterfuck that is not even subtle about it.

But what is more, the film is just a mess. It starts with the fact that I actually started watching it twice because the beginning was so completely confusing that I thought I just hadn’t been paying enough attention and needed to watch it again with a bit more focus. Turns out, my concentration really wasn’t the problem, but the writing, the directing, the editing, the narrative structure and the cinematography definitely were.

Seven (Corey Hawkins), Five (Adria Arjona), Four (Ben Hardy), One (Ryan Reynolds), Two (Mélanie Laurent) and Three (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) walking towards the camera in the usual hero strut.

The film only has the barest pretense at a plot or character development, and arguably, you watch it for the jokes and the action scenes. Problem is: those are both really bad. Plus, some of it only works if you care for the characters at least a little bit – which is where the character development and/or the plot would have come in handy.

I am honestly not sure why I didn’t turn the film off 15 minutes in, but watched it to the end. Not that I retained anything from it. It’s been only two weeks that I saw it, and I remember nothing about it anymore. I couldn’t tell you anything about how the story develops, how it ends or who these people are. I have to assume that it’s my brain protecting me from the sheer awfulness of it – and I am grateful.

One (Ryan Reynolds) in full combat uniform.

Summarizing: I can only recommend never ever even touching this film in the slightest.

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