6 Underground (2019)

Genres - Action, Thriller, War  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller  |   Run Time - 127 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jules Fox

Directed by Michael Bay (Transformers, Bad Boys), more high-budget mayhem erupts and destroys lavish set pieces in 6 Underground, an explosive action flick teeming with gunfire, rockets, and parkour, and interspersed with cute quips. A group of unlikely, off the grid heroes whom the world assumes to already be dead, decides to take justice into their own hands by chasing down the worst people imaginable and bringing them to a swift, brutal justice.

Number 1 (Ryan Reynolds), also nicknamed The Billionaire, puts together a crack team of experts in their field. In the beginning, they find themselves fleeing the mafia through Italian streets, firing guns out of a rapidly moving car as someone's performing surgery in the backseat, and the driver is trying not to step on a human eyeball necessary to the mission.

Joining the team is Number 6 (Dave Franco) as well as Two (Mélanie Laurent) and Five (Adria Arjona), who are simultaneously putting bullets into the bad guys while literally pulling bullets out of themselves, the car stopping for nothing… that is, until they come upon a semi-truck that destroyed the car chasing them.

Meanwhile the Skywalker, Number 4 (Ben Hardy), leaps across beautiful rooftops, managing to keep up with the cars moving at 80 mph, and then shows off his skills with a rocket launcher, which had cleverly been concealed in his backpack.

With almost the entire first act contained in that long action sequence, it's on to tackle the more sinister threat of fictional country Turgistan's chemical weapon-loving leader Alimov (Lior Raz). The six heroes are willing to use brute force to kill Alimov and replace him with his imprisoned brother Murat (Payman Maadi) in order to help the country regain stability.

Writing duo Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (Deadpool, Zombieland) try to make the most out of Ryan Reynolds by giving him narrating duties, along with the most screen time. There's an intriguing, yet worn-out, high-concept premise at work here: in this world, they're clearly having fun destroying everything around the heroes in the name of good, or at least a good time.

While the violence appears too gratuitous throughout, there's an element of realism in this film that's missing from most other action movies: innocent bystanders and villains, and the way are killed left and right during the numerous car chases and gunfights. There's so much brutal death, it's almost darkly comedic, except that the focus of the comedy is clearly in its one-liners. It plays less like an all-out violent comedy such as Shoot 'Em Up, and more like a serious attempt to clone the Mission Impossible series.

Ultimately, 6 Underground is a thrill ride from start to finish, with plenty of car chasing, shooting, bad mouthing, and graphic violence to quench anyone's thirst for such a thing. That it continues non-stop at the expense of plot and character development may work against its appeal, or it could appease those who don't prioritize such qualities in a film.