Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Movie review - 6 Underground

6 underground movie poster/review

Ever wonder what the Deadpool movies would look like if Michael Bay directed them? Well here's your chance with this little Netflix number starring Ryan Reynolds and written by the creator of the Deadpool comic, Paul Wernick and co-written by Rhett Reese, one of the co-writers of the Deadpool flicks.

Here Reynolds reprises his role as the Merc with a mouth stars as the billionaire with a mouth -- an inventor/tech/software genius type guy who looks at the world and wonders about all the icky people roaming around free to do awful things without consequence. He finds that simply being rich won't help him change all that. So he decides to form a team to do the dirty work he deems necessary without all that pesky due process and vetted intel getting in the way.

Being brilliant and all, he has this great idea for his team -- no names, only numbers, that way no one can compromise another team member, and if someone is caught or killed? Well, that's hard cheese old man, and he'll just bring in someone to replace them and give them the next number in line. Foreshadowing 101 -- you know that's going to come back to haunt him at some point.

So Reynolds is number 1 of course. Number 2 is a leggy, busty, blonde female killer spy type that has become ubiquitous over the last couple of years. Think Atomic Blonde, Red Sparrow, Black Widow, Anna, Hanna (okay, Saoirse Ronan isn't leggy or busty, but she is blonde, so ...), The Courier, etc.

Number 3 is a doctor. Female, hot, sort of ethnic looking, it took me a while to realize where I had seen her in film before. She played Jules, the sorta love interest of the sorta main characters in that execrable Pacific Rim: Uprising flick.

But so far, so good, we've got a rich brainy guy running the show, a talented killer/spy and a doctor. Now we get to number 4. Some Brit kid who's good (I'll get to that later) at parkour. ?!?!?! Now I'm not rich or brainy and I didn't spend last night in a Holiday Inn Express, but if I'm putting together a team to do covert wetworks and such, a dude whose skillset is running and jumping off crazy places is not only not high on my list, it isn't on the list at all. But if I'm a director looking to make cool action sequences, well . . . it makes sense. So he's in.

The next guy, number 5, is a straight up Mexican hitman. Played by the guy who played a straight up Mexican outlaw in the Antoine Fuqua remake of The Magnificent Seven. He plays the same role here, only better English and hygiene.

Number 6 is the driver. Good idea. Think Baby Driver without the shades and soundtrack. So the team is set, we get their intros during the opening sequence of the film.

And oh my, that opening sequence. After 13 years of making big robot movies where his actors run around shrieking at green screens that a team of geeks in Malaysia will fill with cgi mayhem in post production, Bay gets a chance to work with practical special effects and he's like a kid on a sugar high in the world's biggest toy store.

The car chase goes on for a really long time. The crashes are epic and wildly destructive, bad guys are dispatched with gorey bloody excess and all the while Reynolds runs what has become his patented acting style of panicky screamed dialog mixed with profanity and clever sarcasm.

The sequence finally ends with one of the characters dying. So Reynolds has to recruit another number. This one is a disaffected military sniper who watched in frustration as a suicide bomber blew up a compound with his comrades in it because his superiors wouldn't give him the green light on a kill shot. Reynolds brings this guy on board with the promise he'll never tell him not to pull the trigger. Yeah, about that foreshadowing . . .

So the team is now set. They have a cool hideout in one of those airplane graveyards Bay likes so much. Funny how we never see people sweating like pigs inside those old airplane bodies that would be over 140 degrees on a summer day. Or watch the rain pour through all the holes in the rusted hulks, or . . . well, you get my drift.

Number 7 learns, to his horror, that this team he just sacrificed everything to join (all the team members have their id's erased and are officially dead to the world now) is still on their first mission, and pretty much everything went wrong so far which lead to the car chase/crash that got him here.

The actual mission? A murderous corrupt dictator in Somewhereistan is gassing his own people and doing other awful things while he keeps his benign brother captive on the other side of the world in a sumptuous penthouse prison. So, break out the brother, orchestrate a rebellion, depose the dictator and install the nice guy on the throne. Simple, no?

No.

Along the way lots of action and big sweeping vistas. Lots of Bay's trademark explosions. Everything foreshadowed earlier in the film comes to bear. Bay uses a technique during some shots of literally highlighting what he wants you to pay attention to and I'm not sure if it's him being lazy or just having fun. The getaway car in the opening sequence is neon green in a sea of black chase cars. Number 3 enters a building in a skin tight neon yellow dress while everyone else is dressed in black or dark colors. Made me chuckle a bit.

Number 4's expertise in parkour comes into question as he can't outrun four thugs in business suits as he scampers across rooftops and scaffolding and such. And Reynolds vacillates between comically inept panickiness and a deadly skillset to the point that number 7, after watching Reynolds effortlessly dispatch someone who caught him by surprise speaks for the audience when he says over the coms that "someone has to explain to me where that came from." My answer would be that the writers/star/director couldn't decide what exactly they wanted Reynolds character to be.

Anyways, there's a cool sequence on a luxury yacht towards the end. Everything works out for the best. We see in the opening bit at the hideout that Reynolds character has identified either 10 or 11 people that have to be dealt with. Nice set up, but I doubt we'll see 10 more of these.

Is it worth your time? If you've got Netflix, you've already paid for it. And compared to some of the other drivel there that passes for movies, you could do a lot worse. No nudity, some PG-13 sex (which surprises me for an R rated film made by a guy like Bay who isn't shy about exploiting hot women in his movies), and plenty of bad language.

All in all, it's more of a curiosity watch for me. And I would imagine anyone else. I wouldn't recommend going out of your way for it. And since it's basically a made-for-tv flick, I won't be including it with my regular movie review menu. Check it out. Feel free to comment below if you like.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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