6 Underground (1 star)

6 Underground

Ryan Reynolds gets embroiled in some exhausting espionage action courtesy of Michael Bay

In contrast to prestige fare like The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes, Netflix have been rather more coy about their $150 million investment in Michael Bay's espionage movie 6 Underground. They have good reason to be modest, this vigilante actioner is an expensive, incoherent dud that'll try the patience of any viewer.

Ryan Reynolds plays One, a billionaire inventor who fakes his own death in a plane crash to start up an elite group of mercenaries. Their mission takes them via Rome, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates as they try to capture the brother of a rogue dictator. Along for the ride are Ben Hardy, Mélanie Laurent, Dave Franco and Corey Hawkins, as well as lingerie models, fluorescent sports cars, sludgy-sounding music cues and some dead-on-arrival humour.

Bay's cinema famously relies on such elements, but they haven't really gelled since 1998's Armageddon, and action movies have moved on via John Wick specifically, making 6 Underground decidedly old-hat. The writers of Deadpool, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, were employed here, and the aim is clearly to replicate that brand of post-modern snark, but the jokes don't stretch further than having One's crew tediously quote lines from other films while pulling off a heist. The explosions and locations are flashy but, without any opportunities for engagement with the narrative, the two-hour-plus runtime is truly punishing.

If Netflix have funded their fair share of lame comedies and stodgy action, this at least provides fans of the low-brow with a two-for-one. Otherwise, it's a laboured Mission Impossible knock-off that offers little more than watching money unenjoyably wasted. In the era of fake news, 6 Underground feels like a fake film: a disposable, unmemorable product that even those seeking Bay's usual high-octane idiocy will find exhausting.

Available to watch on Netflix from Fri 13 Dec.

6 Underground

  • 1 star
  • 2019
  • US
  • 2h 7min
  • R18
  • Directed by: Michael Bay
  • Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Adria Arjona, Mélanie Laurent
  • UK release: 13 December 2019

One (Reynolds) is a billionaire investor who fakes his own death to start an elite group of mercenaries. In what’s clearly an attempt to replicate the success of Deadpool, Bay relies on his usual elements but despite a lot of acting talent the result is a lame, unenjoyable waste of time and money.

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