“6 Underground” has the worst opening half hour to a film I’ve seen in ages. I think it’s Michael Bay’s attempt to make a Tony Scott film. Scott was most famous for directing “Top Gun” and “Enemy of the State”, but it was films like “Man on Fire” and “Deja Vu” that showed him taking larger chances. Scott’s orbiting helicopter shots and outside-of-time editing were ways of evoking the intense isolation and dissociation his action heroes often felt.
Scott’s protagonists became lost in geographic and temporal landscapes, the plot in front of them the only thing they can do because it’s the only thing to do. The norms they might help someone else hang onto were worth the sacrifice of throwing themselves further down a rabbit hole they had no clue how to escape. Character was often a combination of circumstance, coincidence, and willpower.
Michael Bay understands exactly zero of that shit. The circumstance he’s interested in is a billionaire who hires a team to assassinate people because he thinks he’s just the super best at deciding who should live and die.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are dictators and mass murderers who we could all probably agree should be wiped from this earth. So why shouldn’t a billionaire independently decide to do this? Cause they might think like Michael fucking Bay, that’s why.
Billionaire Ryan Reynolds – his character goes by “1”, but is probably most immediately and fully comprehended as “Ryan Reynolds”…. Where was I? Right. Billionaire Ryan Reynolds is set on exacting justice that only he can realize in this world because he wants to topple a dictator in a made up country.
Why does he want to do this? Because this dictator has massacred thousands of innocent people. How is he going to do this? It’s not really communicated, but it involves car chases and action set pieces where thousands of innocent bystanders get massacred as a result. Wait, what?
Did you ever want to see an action movie where innocent bystanders are gunned down by the dozens? This is your movie. Also, please never contact me.
In the very first sequence, a 20-minute car chase takes place. I wish I could tell you more than that, but its only reason for taking place is that it takes place. Fascinating.
Perhaps I can best describe the experience this way:
The experimental documentary “Koyaanisqatsi” presupposed that viewers could see multiple images that had nothing to do with each other, and that the brain would try to build a narrative out of them anyway. The viewer would attempt to make sense of why those shots followed each other, even if there was no sense to be made. In this way, a viewer can take completely unrelated scenes and images and still build a cogent narrative they’re then able to communicate to someone else.
Michael Bay takes this as a personal challenge. It is insulting to him. How dare someone think they can make unrelated images form a cogent story. The great challenge Michael Bay engages as an auteur is making images that should go together make zero fucking sense.
You want to be driving on a road? You’re driving through a building now! It’s a museum, you just destroyed Italian fine art. Now you’re in a construction zone. Now you’re in a parking garage? What the fuck? Fuck the what. The cars that are chasing you drive through barriers and plummet to explosions for no apparent reason. One’s driving down the stairs at you under control. Now it lands vertically on its nose in the next shot and all the people inside come flying out of doors they all forgot to close for some inexplicable reason so you can sideswipe them into a wall. To be fair, I have experienced that before, but only because the A.I. was so shitty in “Far Cry 4”.
You wanted a cogent fucking narrative? This is Michael Bay territory. What are you doing here?
I don’t think I’ve ever done this, but I desperately want to quote a Metacritic review I saw, because I think it tells you…well I think it tells you something. I always want to know the viewer that something is built for, even if I really, really dislike it. Strongly. And intensely. The comment’s by user HealingToolbox. Please be kind if you should ever cross paths:
“I wasn’t sure what I was watching til halfway thru. Then I realized this is Mission Impossible Michael Bay-style. If you are male and want violence, mayhem, destruction, and civilian deaths turned up to “11” this is for you. If you are female or an iNtuitive Feeler male, the more genteel charms of Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible retreated with Michael Bay tires is likely to leave you cold after it’s over. The primary value and primary point of view this exercise and all its gorgeous production values supports is: violence is good, violence is fun. To anyone with a iNtuitive Feeler conscience, this is going to feel like Armageddon turned up to “11”
Such is the perfect viewer of this film. They gave it a 4 out of 10.
In conclusion, I’m really disappointed that I chose this over watching “The VelociPastor”.
“The VelociPastor” is available on Amazon and is rated 16+.
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