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Saturday, June 25, 2022

‘Underground 6’: Out of 10

Ben Nietzel
Ben Nietzel works as the principal of Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School. He also enjoys coaching Muskie football and reviewing movies.

Muscatine Living

A wealthy billionaire, sickened by evil allowed to prosper in the world, fakes his own death to create a squad of like-minded specialists willing to do whatever it takes to effect real change around the globe.

Pro – Top Shelf Production

“Underground 6” is a straight to Netflix movie starring Ryan Reynolds. In the vein of films such as “Bright”, “The Two Popes”, and “The Irishman”, (which did get a short theatrical release to be Oscar eligible) these films are big budget productions meant to keep viewers at home watching Netflix rather than catching a movie at the theater.

Don’t confuse these films with the straight-to-DVD model of the 1990’s–this is not the “Lion King 4: Simba’s Birthday Surprise.” These are serious movies with serious actors and serious budgets. In fact, three of Netflix’s movies have gotten best picture nominations at the Academy Awards in the last two years.

“Underground 6” won’t be competing for that award, but visually it matches anything you might see in the Fast and Furious franchise or its ilk. Michael Bay directs, and it has all the hallmarks of his films. In fact, the opening chase scene in “Underground 6” might be the most exciting chase sequence to date on film. The film is a visual feast. Anyone wanting a dose of “did you see that?” action can’t do much better than “Underground 6”.

Con – A Forgettable Mess

The problem with “Underground 6” is it’s all style and very little substance. The basic bones of the story are banal; an absolutely evil dictator of a non-descript “…stan” country enjoys gassing his own people in refugee camps and must be stopped. From there, it’s paint-by-number across the globe until a final showdown on a luxury boat. It’s typical, it’s boring, it’s utilitarian.

The bigger issue here is the film jumps around all over the place. Flashbacks and location jumps happen frequently, and with different degrees of announcement. The story isn’t worth the mental gymnastics to piece all the confusing parts together.

Complicating things further is the main characters all go by numbers (to sever personal connections) which doesn’t help the audience to remember “who is four? I thought she was five.” What ensues is a confusing, forgettable story.

Con – Access Model

While it is pretty cool to get big budget movies streamed to your home for free, it’s not really free. “Underground 6” is only available to those with a Netflix subscription. Sure, it’s possible to do a free trial to see it, but that’s not possible every time one of these films comes out.

The other issue is that while home entertainment systems are amazing, “Underground 6” is the type of film that really suffers from not being in the theaters. It’s big, it’s loud, and it looks amazing. It’s also confusing and shallow. The theater would showcase its many strengths, and make for a fun, if forgettable two hours out of the house. At home, with all the options available on streaming services and even non-screen activities, it doesn’t feel like a compelling way to spend the time.

“Underground 6” is an amazing production with tons of cool visuals. A rote, confusing story though, render it forgettable if passable entertainment for someone who has binged their way into boredom.

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