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Netflix's 6 Underground Review

Michael Bay does Mission: Impossible, and all of a sudden we want John Woo back

by Casimir Harlow

Netflix's 6 Underground Review

Slo-mo, snappy dialogue, 'splosions, shouting. Michael Bay and Ryan Reynolds give Netflix its loudest, most explosive 'blockbuster'.

Reportedly costing $150 million - not quite the most expensive Netflix production (the award, interestingly, doesn't go to The Irishman, but goes to Bright, which hardly looked worth that kind of money) - Michael Bay's 6 Underground is a mess, although that shouldn't come as any particular surprise to those who have watched his last few movies (Benghazi notwithstanding). If you cock your head slightly and squint, it actually looks like the blockbuster director - who did some of his best work before people started cutting him blank cheques - was having a shot at an R-rated Mission: Impossible-esque outing here: lots of impossible missions in exotic locations, with crazy stunts, and a bantering team who are working so far under the radar that there isn't even a Government to disavow them if they were to get captured.

 If you didn't make it past the halfway mark then consider yourself one of the lucky ones

Ryan Reynolds' "One" is a millionaire entrepreneur who basically got fed up with not doing any good in the world, faked his own death, and then recruited a disparate group of individuals to go on 'missions' to kill criminals, stop dictators and even start a damn coup. Amidst his team mates are Melanie Laurent's ex-CIA agent "Two", Manuel Garcia-Rulfo's food-obsessed "Three", Ben Hardy's completely redundant parkour expert, "Four", Adria Arjona's doctor "Five", and a couple of others, including Dave Franco's driver, who may or may not have been completely modelled on Baby Driver. There are some odd flashbacks to how they got together, a tiny smidge of planning before the missions (probably a reflection on how badly they go wrong) and then lots of crashing, smashing, shouting and shooting.

Netflix

Unfortunately, whilst there might have once been a time when the idea of a Michael Bay Mission: Impossible was actually a possibility, on this evidence we should be really, really, grateful we got John Woo instead. Bay makes the use of slo-mo doves look even more pointless, makes car chases into some kind of parody where literally every vehicle involved in a crash not only explodes, but gets ripped into two, and the people within impaled on some kind of wreckage. He has a boatload of pointless parkour, some of the worst mission teamwork you've ever seen, collateral damage galore (did we already talk about how much stuff gets blown up for no apparent reason?) and some really noisy and often unfunny banter in the middle of it all. If there's a story to be told, it didn't make this cut. Oh yeah, and he's clearly got loads of 'Transformer' robot-noise sound effects left over he wants to use - like with the giant magnet - because that's his go-to motif for basically every action scene. In fact, if he took all the leftover B-roll footage shot of blowing stuff up for the Transformers movies, and stitched it together without adding CG Transformers into the mix, this is probably what it would look like.

Even Ryan Reynolds can't save the piece, coming across as completely unsure as to what character he is playing, waiting for a final reveal which just never comes - he's as unsure as we are, not that you'll care. At one point Reynolds' character tells us "we can do some sh*t, really loud", and that just about sums up the mantra used to make this movie. Hell, Bay should consider adopting it for a career epitaph.

  Reynolds' character tells us "we can do some sh*t, really loud", and that just about sums up the mantra used to make this movie

It would be easy to imagine this ending up as the most watched, but least liked production Netflix has ever made, but if the streaming giant only counts stats based on watching at least half a movie, they probably won't care. If they actually looked at how many people made it to the end, it might be a different story. Indeed, if you didn't make it past the halfway mark then consider yourself one of the lucky ones. It doesn't get any better. You dodged a bullet. 


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