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In 2019, 83 million viewers tuned in to watch Michael Bay’s streaming debut, and it was predictably ripped apart by critics. “6 Underground” stands at just 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, which actually places it squarely in the middle of Bay’s filmography, review-wise. So if you’re a fan of the director’s trademark frenetic action stylings, this is right up your alley. If not … well, you probably weren’t one of the 83 million people who watched this anyway.
The plot — so much as there is one — centers on an elite group of mercenaries who have faked their own deaths in order to carry out their missions off the grid. Their assignment: travel to the fictional land of Turgistan to replace the country’s brutal dictator (Lior Raz) with his imprisoned brother (Peyman Maadi). If you’re thinking the film’s portrayal of Middle Eastern politics is anywhere approaching the 21st century, think again.
Ryan Reynolds plays the group’s leader, a billionaire who may have invented the vibrate function on your cell phone. Melanie Laurant, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ben Hardy, Adria Arjona, and Corey Hawkins round out the group as a spy, a hitman, a parkour artist, a doctor, and a Delta Force sniper, respectively. Each member of this motley crew has an origin story that’s sprinkled in between all the stuff blowing up.
With its loud explosions, cringey jokes, and hypersexualization, “6 Underground” is a Michael Bay production, to be sure. For those willing to shut off their brains for two hours and go with its frenetic flow, that’s a ringing endorsement.