6 Underground (film)
6 Underground is a 2019 American action film directed by Michael Bay and written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona, Corey Hawkins, Ben Hardy and Dave Franco. Bay produced the film with his longtime business partner Ian Bryce and Skydance's David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger.
|Directed by||Michael Bay|
|Music by||Lorne Balfe|
Four years after witnessing the horrors of a brutal regime in the Central Asian nation of Turgistan, an unnamed American billionaire and philanthropist, who made his fortunes from inventing neodymium magnets, fakes his own death to form an anonymous vigilante squad to take down "untouchable" criminals and terrorists. Known as One, he recruits five others to abandon their pasts and join his cause as "ghosts": Two, a spy; Three, a hitman; Four, a parkour runner and thief; Five, a doctor; and Six, a driver.
On their first mission in Florence, Italy, the team interrogates the lawyer of Turgistan's four generals before driving across the city in a bright green Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio while chased by the Mafia and the police. Six is killed just as they get away.
Days later, One recruits Blaine, a former Delta Force sniper suffering from survivor's guilt over his inability to save his team in Afghanistan. He is convinced to fake his suicide and is renamed Seven. One plans to stage a coup d'état to topple the government of Turgistan dictator Rovach Alimov and install Alimov's imprisoned brother Murat as the country's new leader on the Day of the Dead. It is revealed that Two had reluctantly captured Murat and handed him back to Rovach before becoming a ghost.
The team assassinates Rovach's generals in Las Vegas and successfully extracts Murat from his penthouse imprisonment in Hong Kong, but Four is nearly killed during the extraction until Seven intervenes despite protests from One. Following an argument between One and Seven about One's willingness to leave people behind for the mission, the ghosts break the code of anonymity, revealing their names.
In Turgistan, One sets his plan in motion by hacking the state-run television station during Rovach's address, giving Murat a voice. Murat's impromptu speech inspires a citizen revolt, and strategic explosions in the city force Rovach to evacuate to his private yacht. The ghosts storm the yacht and One activates a magnetic pulse invention to incapacitate the guards. When the yacht is immobilized in the middle of the ocean, One chooses to save Four instead of capturing Rovach. Rovach flees by helicopter, only to discover it to be commandeered by Murat and the ghosts, who drop him helpless in a refugee camp where he is beaten to death by an angry mob.
In the aftermath of the revolution, Murat becomes Turgistan's new president and the ghosts part ways until their next mission is determined. Two and Three begin a relationship, as do Four and Five. One travels to New York City, revealing that he has a young son.
- Ryan Reynolds as One
- Mélanie Laurent as Camille / Two
- Corey Hawkins as Blaine / Seven
- Adria Arjona as Amelia / Five
- Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Javier / Three
- Ben Hardy as Billy / Four
- Lior Raz as Rovach Alimov
- Peyman Maadi as Murat Alimov
- Yuri Kolokolnikov as Baasha Zia
- Kim Kold as Daqeeq
- Dave Franco as Six
- Tauras Čižas as Horseman
- Algirdas Dainavičius as Rooftop General
- James Murray as Caleb
- Ron Funches as Blaine's Cousin / The Funeral Speaker
On March 7, 2018, it was reported that Michael Bay would direct the action thriller film, 6 Underground, based on the script by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, which would be produced by Skydance Media's David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Don Granger along with Bay. In May 2018, it was reported that Netflix would distribute the film, for what they intend to be a new action franchise with Ryan Reynolds starring in the lead role.
In July 2018, Dave Franco, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona, Corey Hawkins, Ben Hardy and Lior Raz joined the cast. In August 2018, Mélanie Laurent and Peyman Maadi joined the cast of the film. Principal production commenced on July 30, 2018.
Over the subsequent months, shooting would be completed in several cities of Italy, in Los Angeles, Budapest, and in the United Arab Emirates: in Al Ain, Liwa Oasis, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Al Jazirah Al Hamra (standing in for Nigeria and Afghanistan) and, particularly in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In the UAE, 24 locations were used, some standing in for Las Vegas, Afghanistan, California, Hong Kong and the fictional Turgistan. The UAE military worked with the crew, providing soldiers as extras as well as aircraft that appear in the film. Production designer Jeffrey Beecroft made this comment: "I’ve shot a lot of military stuff with Michael, but I never had the ability to have six Apache [helicopters], 10 Black Hawks and soldiers".
In Italy, some filming was also done at Cinecittà Studios in Rome and on the Kismet (yacht), rented from owner Shahid Khan. The lengthy car chase, set in the historic center of Florence, consisted of sequences filmed in Florence itself, between August 22 and September 22, 2018,  but also in Siena, Rome and Taranto. Michael Bay was able to obtain permits to close streets to film the speeding cars. In an interview, Bay expressed some surprise that Florence had allowed filming of the car chase in its historic area. "There’s a lot of priceless stuff in this movie, like where we have cars flying between an obelisk. Why they allowed me to have flying cars by an obelisk that’s 800 years old, I don’t know. But we didn’t hurt anything," he recalled.
After watching their videos on YouTube, Bay brought on British parkour team Storror to choreograph and perform the parkour sequences in the film. They perform the stunts between skyscrapers and cranes, with some scenes on the Florence Cathedral.
Principal photography wrapped on December 5, 2018.
The film's production reportedly cost $150 million.
The film premiered at The Shed in New York City on December 10, 2019, and was released digitally to Netflix and in limited theaters on December 13, 2019. On January 21, 2020, Netflix announced that the film had been viewed by over 83 million viewers on its service within its first month of release.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 36% based on 92 reviews, with an average rating of 4.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "6 Underground is loud, frenetic, and finally preposterous – which is either bad news or a hearty recommendation, depending how one feels about the movies of Michael Bay." Metacritic, another review aggregator, assigned the film a weighted average score of 41 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Amon Warmann of Empire gave the film two out of five stars, claiming it has potential and praising Reynolds, but found the rest derivative of Bay's prior work. David Fear of Rolling Stone gave the film one-and-a-half out of five stars, writing, "This is a Michael Bay movie. It's like someone is repeatedly poking you in the parts of your brain that register mere sensation, and keeps hammering away until a line of drool drops from your downturned lip. I get it. So do you. You're not going to watch it. Or you are going watch it, and either decry the death of all Western civilization or pump your fists in the air. It's another lingerie catalogue sprinkled with carnage." Ram Venkat Srikar of Cinema Sentries wrote, "No amount of high-budget action can make up for what it lacks on paper."
Netflix reported the film was watched by 83 million members over its first four weeks of release, among its best for an original title.
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Ryan Reynolds, director Michael Bay and the film crew discussing the complex 27-day shoot in the Emirate
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Shoot in the capital Abu Dhabi took place in 24 different locations
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'Abu Dhabi was wild to shoot in. Because in our movie it’s California, the Middle East, it plays as Hong Kong as well
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Three base camps have been set up in piazza Vittorio Veneto, lungarno della Zecca Vecchia, and piazza Ognissanti,
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Adrian Pennington speaks with cinematographer Bojan Bazelli about creating practical effects for Bay’s new Ryan Reynolds-starring action blockbuster.
- "The Near-Death Experiences of Michael Bay". Vanity Fair. December 11, 2019. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
The director of Netflix’s 6 Underground recounts his close calls, fiery escapes, and how chaos has made him more cautious.
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