In 6 Underground many things go kaboom! ... and that’s it basically. Cars, bombed and blasted, cartwheel over screaming civilians running in slow motion, as a clandestine group of super spies, whose identities are erased and names changed into serial numbers, perform acts of heroism that basically result in more kabooms!

The explosions, or the mass-scale killings of bad guys and public property damage is no surprise since this is a Michael Bay-directed film, produced by Bay and David Ellision (Terminator: Dark Fate, Gemini Man, Mission: Impossible – Fall Out).

Left to his own devices, 6 Underground is a testament of what can go wrong if Bay has the ball all to himself without supervision.

Shallow, sim­pleminded characters, played by actors looking for an easy paycheck, throw inane punch lines in the middle of action (the cast includes Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona, Payman Maadi, Corey Hawkins, Ben Hardy, Dave Franco).

6 Underground is a testament of what can go wrong if director Michael Bay has the ball all to himself without supervision

Sequences from the past and the present run back and forth in an effort to jazz up a one-line story (a dictator of a fictional Middle Eastern country is overthrown so his peace-loving brother can take over). Surprisingly, despite the headache-inducing jumps between the past and present, one can still make sense of what is happening when. It is an achievement, if only a teeny-tiny one.

There are way too many negatives to account for. The cinematography by Bozan Bazelli (The Ring, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) is bizarre, where even the most basic rules of frame and composition are thrown out like rotting garbage. This, incidentally, should have been the case with Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese’s screenplay, which anyone could have penned within a weekend.

The combination, especially the cramped frames, suited more for television and mobile devices than the cinema screen, really nails-in the fact that this is a Netflix release — and not one of their good ones. The film still topped Netflix’s 2019’s charts, when it came out weeks ago.

Reynolds, though, is as much of a reason for the film’s success as Bay’s reputation for careless bombastic action.

Reynolds, as a billionaire inventor who forms this vigilante group of underground do-gooders, plays his part with happy-go-lucky zest. There is no need for depth, and Reynolds knows this quite well. Deadpool, though, this isn’t by a long shot, despite being written by Deadpool’s writers.

Irrespective of Reynold’s inclusion, this is an inane entry in Bay’s already absurd resume. 6 Underground, though, has its market: people who enjoy explosions, can digest improbable action sequences (three of them are quite good, in fact) and don’t give a hoot about credible performances.

Released by Metro Live Movies, 6 Underground reeks of enthusiastic amateurism, made on a 150 million dollar budget. The film is not yet rated.

Published in Dawn, ICON, January 12th, 2020