The Dove Take:
This film has the typical Michael Bay style but thanks to its R-rated language, violence, and sex, it is not Dove-approved.
A billionaire, tired of seeing bad things happen around the world, gathers a team together to take down the corrupt leader of a Middle Eastern country and replace him with his peace-loving brother.
Michael Bay, director of action films like The Rock and Transformers, made his Netflix original debut with 6 Underground. Ryan Reynolds stars as a billionaire dissatisfied with the reaction of the world governments to a corrupt dictator, who fakes his own death and then recruits several other experts to his cause. Explosive, fast-paced, funny, and completely over-the-top, 6 Underground is a Hollywood blockbuster released directly on Netflix.
While the vigilante movie isn’t new, Bay’s take on the film provides more humor and levity than most. Playing like a smash-up between a videogame and a music video, the movie first backtracks to explain how the team of numbers—no names because that would make them care about each other—comes together. There’s an ex-spy (Mélanie Laurent), a hitman (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), a doctor (Adria Arjona), a sniper (Corey Hawkins), and a “skywalker” (Ben Hardy). They initially get into a crazy extended car chase/shootout in Florence, Italy, and then go about rescuing the dictator’s brother from Korea and initiating a coup.
The film spends so much time working on how the team comes together that we’re invested in the characters to a degree by the time that the action gets tough. But Netflix and Bay clearly have a series in mind, a sort of Dirty Dozen [or the most violent A-Team ever] for the 21st century, with stylized violence, flying profanity, and a socio-political slant that allows the audience to see the characters as the good guys.
Let’s be clear: this is 99 percent entertainment, and one percent “meaning.” The film’s focus is on style not substance, with the explosions, choreographed fights and stunts, and a body count meant to eclipse anything in a war movie. It’s funny, thanks to Reynolds’ wise-cracking persona he delivers in nearly every film, with some help from Garcia-Rulfo, and some well-timed movie quotes within the film. But there’s this glimmer in there of heart, too, when Seven (Hawkins) points out that there’s a reason to fight for each other, and in the subsequent plot points that bring the team together.