He’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaack with “6 Underground”. This entire film felt like Michael Bay hate sex. Clearly, it’s been a while since he’s been able to exercise his giant raging boner for “R” rated violence, half-naked hot women, and of course the epic master of blowing all of the shit the up. While it felt like angry Bay sex, that also meant the plot had more holes than a Michigan road. In spite of the bizarre plot and typical immature humor, “6 Underground” still seeped all of the glorious things one hopes to endure during a Michael Bay feature film.
“What if I told you… I know what happens when you die?”
A billionaire fakes his death and recruits other fancy potential vigilantes to become “ghosts” that hunt bad guys. That’s it. The villains fall into the exact boxes of stereotypes you’d expect to check off, making them fun, yet forgettable. Each team member goes by their “number” rather than their name and along the way we learn little bits in what appears to be a commercial length blurb of each of their backstories. Then, they try to take down the “bad guy”.
Most of the plot points in Bay films are completely arbitrary. They are nothing more than devices for him to do what it is he really does better than just about anyone. Bay makes gorgeous landscapes and then destroys them with gunfights, car chases, and action sequences that are panty-dropping worthy. It is straight up action film porn. Each moment in his films is nearly flawless. He is exacting in every shot, and each shot is, in fact, a money shot.
“But with loneliness comes freedom… to go where you please. Do what you want.”
You can feel Bay’s enthusiasm, excitement, anger, and even his arousal in the moments of this feature. Unfortunately, you also feel his self-congratulatory egomania and misogynistic sense of adolescent humor. In the right settings, with the right cast this often actually works for Bay. Will Smith lets those beats roll off his shoulders and is still incredibly likable. But, as much as I love Ryan Reynolds he feels out of place here. He is one of my favorite actors on and off the screen and while he IS funny in “6 Underground” he just doesn’t seem to fit in this shiny, very violent world that bay created. He’s not the only one. In a lot of ways, I feel like that was the biggest problem with the movie. Each character, scene, and event on their own worked (for the most part), but in the context of a bigger picture or the film itself didn’t connect.
“I feel like a Jedi.”
What is ten fold on point here is all of the action sequences, especially the first scene. Bay knows how to capture every moment and make every second count. The explosions are impossible and the physicality of our “heroes” is nonsense and yet it all looks completely believable. People complain about the way he pans the camera to collect an action shot while the characters are moving, but I have always loved it. It’s ridiculously provocative. Half of this film my mouth was agape just enjoying the action.
“Never underestimate the power of a very nice suit.”
This is Michael Bay. He makes subpar movies, but because he makes them look so good and understands action so well they are watchable. Actually, they are egregiously enjoyable. There is nothing wrong with appreciating movies on a superficial level. When people say I’m a movie snob or too tough on movies I always retort with….”Really? Because I love Michael Bay movies.” It’s true. I LOVE Bay movies for all that they are and all that they aren’t. There are no movies that look like his, none that feel like his. You literally step into an alternate universe. As much as I hate the Transformers franchise (save the first one) I still respect what the lunatic does. He owns his corner of the sandbox and even when he makes preposterous, even stupid movies they are still entertaining as hell. “6 Underground” was exactly that….misogynistic, morally reprehensible, bizarre, and yet a non-stop thrill ride. This is Bay, and this is what he does. I’ll watch it again.
Streaming on Netflix